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[Instant Reaction] A close shave win came with a heavy price

The travelling supporters celebrate another Lions victory (from TV)
When I first saw the starting lineup against Laos, my first reaction was it was an attacking tactics with Farra (Fahrudin Mustafic) holding the middle alone with Baihakki Khaizan, Safuwan Baharudin and Daniel Bennett staying behind to man the fort with the likes of Aleksandar Duric, Fazrul Nawaz, Qiu Li, etc. prowling forward to search for those early goals to calm the nerves.

While Fazrul almost had that first chance coming his way at the edge of the Laotian box that eventually had their 'keeper replaced due to injury sustained from that "50/50" ball with the former Gombak United striker, it was then all the Indo-Chinese dominated the play in the near-empty Stadium Shah Alam.

Thus, not surprisingly that the fragile backline wasn't able to cope with the inroads by the Laotians and saw the Lions trailed by two goals in the first 45 until Shahril Ishak reduced the deficit at the injury period before the interval.

The Lions skipper eventually levelled the scores shortly after the break to give that much-needed boast to see the men in red netting two more in the second half through substitute Khairul Amri and Fazrul.

Much of that attributed to the tweak by replacing the ineffective Qiu and Bennett with Amri and Shaiful Esah, who was responsible for setting up Shahril's first and Fazrul's goal.

The only chink that would take the gloss out of the 4-3 win would be that dubious penalty that led to the Laotians' third goal.

Nonetheless, all these meant little as coach Raddy now has a bigger headache in working out his frail defence line with the semifinal date against the Philippines, whom they lost two on a roll in recent meet ups, with only four defenders available in the squad.


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