SINGAPORE – It was heartbreak for LionsXII as they were denied a victory in their Malaysia Cup opener by a stubborn Kedah side as the match ended in a 2-2 draw at the Jalan Besar stadium on Tuesday night.
The visitors, despite plying their trade in the second tier Malaysia Premier League, showed no respect or fear towards their opponents and were out to prove their point early on in the match.
But it was V.Sundramoorthy’s boys that broke the deadlock in the 11th minute when Fariss Azlan was dispossessed by Fazrul Nawaz in the penalty box.
Fazrul then delivered the ball to the far post and captain Shahril Ishak needed no invitation as he nodded home from close range.
Ahmad Shafie’s charges did not let that goal dampened their spirit as they surge forward in search of the equaliser and were duly rewarded midway through the first half.
A long ball deep from Kedah’s half was not dealt with by left-back Irwan Shah and Kyril Muhymeen took full advantage of it and sent a low cross, which was met by Alen Guc in the middle of the box.
Although Izwan Mahbud was able to deny Alen Guc in his first attempt, there was nothing the Singapore international could do as the rebound ricochet off the Croatian striker and into the net to make it 1-1.
The intensity was raised after the halftime interval as both sides were eager to snatch all three points and tackles was flying in from all corners with several players cautioned for their reckless challenges.
The hosts could have doubled their lead five minutes after the restart but Fazrul was unable to convert the rebound after Nazrul Nazari’s curler was well saved by custodian Abdul Hadi.
LionsXII finally got their second goal of the night as Shahfiq Ghani’s freekick manages to creep through the underside of Hadi’s body and trickles into the net in the 65th minute.
But while it seem that all three points were in the bags for the Malaysian Super League champions, dark clouds descend upon them as referee Wan Mohd Tarmizi points to the penalty spot after Shakir Hamzah brought down Syafiq Ahmad in the box.
Guc made no mistake from the spot as he coolly slotted the ball to the bottom corner and earned a point for his side, much to the disappointment of the home fans.