Written By: Kenneth Ho
LionsXII head coach Fandi Ahmad asserted that his team did what was expected of them after they held on for a 1-0 win over Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) II on Saturday evening.
Until the last four minutes of added time, the LionsXII had dominated the game and were creating ample opportunities to score. However, they only had Shahdan Sulaiman’s 49th minute goal to show for their efforts.
Refusing to give up, JDT II piled the pressure on the hosts and were only denied a point by LionsXII captain Izwan Mahbud, who produced two superb saves in injury time.
“Johor came with different tactics and tried to stop us playing the first half,” Fandi explained.
“In the end I must say we are quite lucky, but maybe it’s not the right word because we created quite a lot of chances and we should have buried them.
“The last five minutes were a nightmare for us because we made some errors, but above all we are very happy with the result.”
The former Singapore international was also satisfied with the result given how his squad was affected by injuries and suspension in the lead up to the game.
Nazrul Nazari was out due to suspension while Khairul Amri picked up an injury on international duty. Amri’s replacement, Khairul Nizam, pulled out of training a day before the match after injuring himself too.
“We missed three players today; even Amri’s replacement, Nizam, was injured yesterday,” Fandi shared.
“(Other) players came on and did their best. Shahdan gave his all and did what he had to do even though he wasn’t at 100%.”
While Izwan arguably won his side three points with his two saves, Fandi’s man-of-the-match was left-back Shakir Hamzah.
“Izwan did his job in the last five minutes,” said Fandi.
“But Shakir kept running up and down today and he sent in a few crosses – I thought he was our best player.”