Inexperienced Tigers lucky not to lose to Singapore

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Malaysia have somehow held out for a 0-0 draw against rivals Singapore in a one-sided Causeway Challenge clash at the National Stadium on Friday night.

Despite dominating the entire game and spending most of the match inside Malaysia’s half, Singapore could not find the back of the net as the Causeway Challenge ended in a goalless draw.

It is the first time in 10 matches, a streak spanning 10 years, that a match between these rivals has ended with no goals.

The Lions lacked a cutting edge up front and were often let down by their poor final passes, which led to their attacking moves breaking down throughout. When they did create chances, their profligacy meant that they could not find the back of the net.

Faris Ramli, in particular, was guilty of that, as he spurned two golden opportunities early on.

He hit the side-netting in the seventh minute, despite having an open goal to shoot at after Khairulazhan Khalid came out and missed Faritz Hameed’s cross completely.

Four minutes later, another Faritz cross from the right found the winger unmarked inside the box, but Faris volleyed straight into a defender instead.

Khairulazhan pulled off a decent save to deny Izzdin Shafiq after Faritz created another chance with a brilliant cutback, while Safuwan Baharudin joined in by lashing one wide from a tight angle in the 23rd minute.

Ong Kim Swee's team struggled to get into the game

Malaysia finally registered their first shot on target 10 minutes later after seeing a couple of shots from range fly harmlessly over the bar, but Hassan Sunny read Amri Yahyah’s dipping effort well and tipped it over.

The Lions then hit the woodwork twice in quick succession, with Khairul Amri sending his curling effort against the crossbar before Hariss Harun did the same with a header after Safuwan had sent the ball back into the danger area.

The game carried on in the same manner in the second half, as the Malaysians struggled to cope with the pressure.

The hosts could have had a penalty in the 69th minute, when Rizal Ghazali took out Faris Ramli inside the box with a late challenge.

Minutes later, they hit the crossbar once more, this time through Daniel Bennett, before substitute Sahil Suhaimi tested Khairulazhan with a sweet-looking effort from 25 yards out.

As the clocked ticked on, the Lions started resorting to long balls from the back, which only played into the Malaysians’ hands.

Both Hariss and Sahil did have late chances, but couldn’t direct them on target as the game ended in a stalemate. 

Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo