A night that saw the LionsXII advance into the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Cup while topping their group was supposed to have sent fans celebrating down the streets. But the reality couldn’t have been further from it.
The Lions ended the night with loud jeers from the crowd who had suffered through an unbearable second half.
Both Lions XII and Johor FC only needed a point each to ensure a place in the quarterfinals and a goalless draw was the outcome indeed.
The game began on a rather exciting note. While the home team did have a few chances in the first half, the lions’ attacks were feeble and their shots were easily saved by Johor FC’s keeper, Zamir Selamat.
What ensued in the second half was utterly disappointing and an insult to the fans who had made their way down.
There was no play from either side as players were merely passing the ball to each other. Of course, this prompted some dissatisfaction amongst the crowd. Their boos were a clear expression of their frustration with what was happening - or not happening - on the pitch. Some fans even started leaving the stadium long before the final whistle.
Giving his thoughts on the game, Coach Sundram said: “I think the first half was exciting, the boys went up to attack and tried to score goals. As the game progressed in the second half, I felt that the players were tired as they had played in too many games, and they slowed down the tempo.”
“We were trying to find the ball and create something. We were looking for a counter attack but Johor FC didn’t do us any favours. They sat back and kept the ball.”
He also stressed that many of his players were tired, as some had been playing multiple games in the past few days.
“After 60 minutes, the attack died down because the players were tired. They have had too many back to back games.”
Coach Sundram believes that it is crucial the fans stay supportive, adding: “As a coach, I think it’s important to say something to the fans. Now the boys will be fresher because they have about 7 days before our next game. I urge the fans to come back to support us.”
LionsXII defender Baihakki Khaizan took to twitter on Friday night: 'Sorry people, we are just following orders. Felt for the fans who turn up. #football #is #a #funny #game
Baihakki Khaizan @Baihakki06