It was supposed to a game filled with attacking football. A game where both sides had to attack to bounce back from opening-day defeats in the Malaysian Super League.
But judging by the night’s performances, both sides would have considered a 0-0 draw to be a fair result.
The LionsXII passed the ball well in their opponents half in the opening minutes, but had few clear cut chances on goal, no thanks to their poor delivery on set pieces.
Kedah on the other hand were looking dangerous on the counter attack but their hesistance to pile bodies forward meant that LionsXII goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud was relatively untroubled in the first half.
The LionsXII had to wait until the 20th minute before they got their first real chance on goal. A Juma’at Jantan corner kick caused mayhem in the Kelantan penalty area but Kedah goalkeeper Abdul Hadi made a fine save to keep the striker’s fierce drive out.
Midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman then came within inches of giving the LionsXII the lead but could only head the ball wide with an open goal at his mercy.
And they almost capitalised in the 37th minute when the LionsXII defence fell asleep to let in Kedah striker Boroni but goalkeeper Mahbud made a brilliant save on the line to keep the scores level.
That was the cue for Kedah to up the game and the youngest team in the league duly obliged, playing slick football for the rest of the half and preventing the LionsXII from getting beyond their own half.
Brave defending once again denied Kedah the opening goal when LionsXII defender Irwan Shah put his body on the line to block a goal-bound shot.
The second half began the same way the first half ended.
Both sides seem to be reluctant to send men forward and get the goal giving the goalkeepers an easy night.
But Agu Casmir came close to breaking the deadlock in the 54th minute when he latched on to a loose ball in the area but a sea of defenders quickly surrounded him to block all three shots the burly forward struck.
LionsXII again came within inches from taking the lead. Shahdan Sulaiman’s looping effort flies just wide of the right-hand post after Abdul Hadi made a hash of collecting a routine cross.
On the hour mark, LionsXII captain rose highest to connect with a sweet Yasir Hanapi cross but once again his header flew wide off the post, much to the delight of the Kedah fans.
The pace of the game significantly slowed down after that as fatigue began to set in, and even the substitutes failed to inspire any urgency into either side.
The LionsXII counter-attacking game was not getting the results against a very disciplined Kedah backline and even the Malaysian side’s forwards failed to capitalise on the many turnovers conceded by the Lions.
The night ended horribly for the LionsXII when star striker Agu Casmir pulled up with a hamstring injury.
Coach Sundram made a substitute immediately after and the striker could miss the next few games for for the LionsXII.
Both the LionsXII and Kedah may have gotten their first point of the Malaysian Super League, but neither side can be happy with their performance.