FourFourTwo Player Ratings: LionsXII 5 PDRM 3
Izwan Mahbud 6
Did well to make a couple of crucial saves with an instinctive stop to thwart Cameroonian forward Dramane Traore, a highlight in the opening 10 minutes. The custodian however, was unable to prevent a hat-trick from the lanky forward. Izwan was also fortunate to be let off the hook when he came off his line in a failed attempt to punch away a free-kick. The ball was headed into an empty net by PDRM captain Muslim Ahmad, but was wrongfully ruled out for an offside.
Nazrul Nazari 6
Used his speed to good effect as he rarely let the opposition wingers get past him and surged forward to overlap Gabriel Quak at every opportunity. Was adjudged to have fouled Traore for the penalty and should take a slice of the blame for the second goal which the LionsXII conceded as he let Traore ghost past at the back post. Will need time to adapt to his new role.
Afiq Yunos 6
Recovered from an injury to take his place in the starting eleven at the heart of defence alongside Madhu Mohana but would have been disappointed with his performance. Made a couple of key clearances when needed but was often easily beaten for pace, especially by Traore.
Madhu Mohana 6
Led the line well initially and as pointed out by Fandi Ahmad before the game, the centre-back’s command of his area has improved. But if he is to fill the void left behind by Safuwan, he has to continue his progress. Defensively sound in the first half but like his fellow defenders, Madhu switched off in the second half, allowing PDRM to score thrice.
Hafiz Sujad 7
Had the best game of the four defenders, as the left-back marauded down the flank as effectively as he did thwarting PDRM’s threat down the right channel. Capped off his night with a well taken goal, a reward for his perseverance as he made a determined run into the box to get on the end of Khairul Amri’s ball.
Firdaus Kasman 7
Was part of a midfield three and displayed brilliant tenacity together with Izzdin as the home side dominated the midfield. Played a sublime ball over the top of PDRM’s defence to find Gabriel Quak for the LionsXII’s first goal. Was not able to finish 90 minutes after he picked up an injury towards the end of the match.
Isa Halim (c) 6
The LionsXII captain was the deepest of the three central midfielders as he looked to shield a new look back four. Put in a good shift, but did not do much to help out a shaky looking defence especially in the second half as he found much of the play eluded him. A decent outing at best, for the midfield lynchpin.
Izzdin Shafiq 8
One of the best players on the field, Izzdin put in an all action shift in midfield. Always looked to get on the ball and was the dictated play in the middle of the park. A chip over the goalkeeper in the second period was helped into the net by PDRM’s Fadhil Hashim as the LionsXII scored their third goal. Boss.
Gabriel Quak 8
Coach Fandi Ahmad singled out Quak for having “one of his best (performances) for 60 minutes” and rightly so as the winger did well on the right flank, bringing his usual bag of tricks to the occasion. Scored the opener with an instinctive run before a brilliant first touch allowed him to get past the goalkeeper and hammer the ball home. Needs to work on his final delivery with a few pivotal passes going astray in the final third.
Faris Ramli 7
One of the few positives from last season was Faris' form and he carried on his good work against PDRM, often taking the full-backs on with supreme confidence. Was at the right place at right time for the second goal, tapping the ball into an empty net after the goalkeeper had parried Khairul Amri’s shot onto his path.
Khairul Amri 8
Full of purposeful running all night from the front man but was unlucky not to get on the score sheet. Showed wonderful footwork before he hit a shot towards goal, only for it to be parried onto Faris' path. The striker also played an inch perfect ball for Hafiz to latch onto for LionsXII’s fourth goal. With a fully fit Amri around, Fandi can be assured of goals.
Sahil Suhaimi 7
A second half substitute, Sahil replaced Gabriel Quak and slotted seamlessly into the game. Won the free kick with his close control dribbling outside the box and converted it with ease. A goal in his first appearance is just a sign of things to come.
Wahyudi Wahyid 6
Wahyudi took to the field at a time when PDRM were in the ascendency and failed to get going, struggling to adapt to the pace of the game. Allowed Traore to sneak in between him and Madhu to score the third goal.
Christopher Van Huizen 6
A brief cameo from the wide player and he should have added to the scoreline after being put through on goal but found his timid effort well saved by the outrushing goalkeeper. Had to put in a shift in defence as PDRM launched attacks late on.
All Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo