By K. RAJAN
KUALA LUMPUR: The much anticipated clash between Selangor and Singapore Lions XII in the Super League finished in a 1-1 stalemate at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
Everyone had expected a mouth-watering clash between two bitter rivals after an 18-year hiatus from the Malaysian football league.
It was an even contest from the beginning and Singapore skipper Shahril Ishak broke the deadlock with a close range shot in the 43rd minute. The Red Giants drew level through midfielder K. Gurusamy’s long range strike in stoppage time of the first half.
Sadly, less than 5,000 fans watched the clash between two old bitter rivals, compared to the past when the they played in stadiums packed to the brim.
Selangor surprisingly did field new signing Bosko Balaban from Crotia.
Selangor enjoyed more possession but failed to breach the Lions XII’s defence marshalled by centre back Baihakki Khaizan.
The first close call came in the opening minutes from a neat one-two pass between Safiq Rahim and Mohd Fitri Shazwan Raduwan inside the box. But Safiq’s weak attempt was easily saved by Singapore custodian Izwan Mahbud.
Baihakki came close to opening accounts with a double effort from close range but his first attempt was punched away and the second was easily collected by Selangor keeper Norazlan Razali in the 40th minute.
Against the run of play, the Lions silenced the home crowd when Shahril found the net with a clinical finish from inside the box in the 43rd minute.
A lapse in concentration from the Selangor defence enabled the Lions XII right winger Raihan Rahman to put the ball into Selangor’s penalty box and Shahril calmly stroked it into the net.
The Lions’ joy was short-lived as just before half-time, Gurusamy let loose a spectacular volley from 35 metres to beat a rooted Singapore goalkeeper Izwan.
In Kota Kinabalu, Sabah held Kelantan to a goalless draw at the Likas Stadium.
Kelantan fielding an attacking line-up failed to breach the tight Sabah defence and had to settle for a point.
The result saw the Red Warriors dropping to second place in the standings with 14 points. Perak took over the top spot with 15 points following their 2-1 win over Sarawak at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh last night.
In Kuala Terengganu, the Turtles could only manage a 1-1 draw with PKNS FC at the Sultan Ismail Stadium.
On-form striker Francis Doe broke the deadlock in the 38th minute by calmly collecting Joseph Kalang Tie’s cross to slot the ball home. However, PKNS wasted no time in the second half to draw level through a Rudie Ramli’s glancing header from a cross in the 46th minute.
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