Written by: Nigel Chin
A superb performance from PDRM FA goalkeeper Badrulzaman Halim helped his side to defeat LionsXII 2-1 on Friday evening at the Shah Alam Stadium.
Safuwan Baharudin scored the only goal for the LionsXII in the match, sandwiched in between Dramane Traore’s brace for the home side as LionsXII fell to their fourth defeat of the season.
While LionsXII had the better start to the game, it was the hosts who took the lead instead. A handball by Khairul Amri left referee with no choice but to point to the spot, and Traore sent Izwan Mahbud the wrong way for the opener.
LionsXII continued pressurising the PDRM defence, with Amri smashing a free-kick he earned into the wall, before Khairul Nizam scuffed his effort from range to allow Badrulzaman into a comfortable save.
The visitors eventually levelled matters in the 28th minute, after Safuwan rose above Afif Amiruddin to meet Izzdin Shafiq’s free-kick and power a bullet header from 15 yards into the top corner.
PDRM however, regained the lead barely two minutes later, with Traore netting his second after getting ahead of Madhu Mohana to head in Jaime Celestino’s cross.
Safuwan had another chance to equalise once more two minutes before the break, but his header off Faris Ramli’s corner was pushed away by Badrulzaman this time, before Amri headed wide from the following corner.
LionsXII were forced to make some changes after Safuwan was unable to carry on for the second half for a suspected concussion, with Faritz Hameed replacing him. Coach Fandi Ahmad also elected to bring on Firdaus Kasman for Raihan Rahman.
That brought out a more attacking display from the Singapore side and they had ton of opportunities to equalise, but they were denied by the excellent Badrulzaman.
Nizam’s shot from range was spilled by Badrulzaman and Faris was first to react, but he smashed his shot against the PDRM custodian instead in the 50th minute.
A minute later, Badrulzaman stopped Nizam’s curling attempt, before palming over Izzdin Shafiq’s fierce drive in the 57th minute.
Mamadou Sumareh then gave LionsXII a scare after outpacing Shakir Hamzah before firing narrowly wide while Traore missed a golden opportunity to complete his hat-trick in the 73rd minute after heading onto the post.
An accurate cross from Sahil Suhaimi found Nazrul Nazari unmarked in the area, but the winger’s header was foiled by Badrulzaman with a flying one-handed save.
The LionsXII started to tire late on, perhaps as a result of playing their third game in the space of seven days, as PDRM held on to take all three points.
LionsXII line-up: Izwan Mahbud (GK)(C), Nazrul Nazari, Madhu Mohana, Safuwan Baharudin (Faritz Hameed 46’), Shakir Hamzah, Raihan Rahman (Firdaus Kasman 46’), Izzdin Shafiq, Faris Ramli (Sahil Suhaimi 73’), Hafiz Sujad, Khairul Amri, Khairul Nizam