Young Lions remain winless after defeat across Causeway

The Singapore Under-23 side stay rooted to the bottom of the table after the Young Tigers thwarted their latest attempt to secure their first points of the season
By Khalis Rifhan

A spirited Courts Young Lions ran out of luck as they ended their match against Harimau Muda with nine men, with the hosts running out 2-1 victors at the Pasir Gudang Stadium on Saturday. 

The visitors were unfortunate to go a goal down after Iskandar Hanapiah’s shot from the edge of the box was palmed away by Rudy Khairullah into the path of Ridzuan Abdunloh, who tapped the ball into the empty net in the eight minute.

Undeterred by the goal, the Young Lions reorganized and regained their composure as they went forward in search of the equalizer, with Sherif El-Masri and Fareez Farhan leading the front line.

Former Gombak United player Iqbal then showed his trickery at the byline and did well to evade the Harimau defence, but chose to play the ball to the edge of the ball instead of squaring it to the six-yards area, where El-Masri was waiting.

Fareez Farhan evened things up with a beautiful solo effort, penetrating through the defence down the middle and slotting the ball into the bottom corner in the 24th minute. 

The closing stages of the first half saw the hosts threatening to score a second, but they were denied by the heroics of Rudy, who kept his team in the game.

First, Syafwan Syahlan saw his header glanced inches above the bar while Iskandar’s freekick to the top corner was then turned behind by Rudy for a corner.

The second half saw Razip Ismail's side gaining a numerical advantage over their opponent when a scuffle between Sheikh Abdul Hadi and Syafwan led to the duo being shown yellow cards in the 57th minute, with the former leaving for an early shower due to it being his second bookable offence.

The Young Lions were further reduced to nine men nine minutes later as captain Al-Qaasimy Rahman was shown a straight red by referee Farhad Moh for a late challenge on Ridzuan 25 minutes from the end. 

It was no surprise when Harimau Muda regained the lead 17 minutes from time as Akhir Bahari took advantage of a mistake from Rudy to net the winning goal.

Despite playing with only nine men for the closing stages, the Young Lions surged forward and did not give up till the final whistle. But with the home side throwing bodies to defend the lead, there was little that Aide iskandar's side could do as they went home empty-handed.