MALAYSIAN SUPER LEAGUE
PKNS 2 (Arip Amirudin 31, Patrick Wleh 46) l LIONSXII 1 (Gabriel Quak 25)
He pursed his lips, shrugged, then threw his hands up in the air.
Moments earlier, Fandi Ahmad's LionsXII were beaten 2-1 by a PKNS side rooted to the bottom of the Malaysian Super League (MSL) and standing pitchside at the Shah Alam Stadium, it looked as if the former Singapore international was at the end of his tether.
He said later he was "disappointed," and "very disappointed", but he could not hide the fact that he was disgusted by the performance of his team, who have turned from a championship-winning team last year, to a side a mere five points off the relegation zone.
"If we can't beat PKNS, how can we take on any other team in the league? I'm disappointed, very disappointed," bemoaned the 52-year-old.
Before last night, PKNS had conceded 35 goals - the worst defence in the 12-team league.
When Gabriel Quak cut in from the right to blast home in the 25th minute, it looked like a win was on the cards.
The Singapore side sorely needed a win to confirm their spot in the top 10 of the MSL and, with that, automatic qualification into the post-season Malaysia Cup.
The bottom two sides will face the fifth and sixth-ranked teams in the second-tier Malaysian Premier League for a spot in the Cup.
But it all fell apart.
Arip Amirudin sprinted past a static defence to equalise in the 31st minute.
A mere 13 seconds after half-time, Patrick Wleh, who single-handedly crushed any semblance of organisation in the visiting backline, scored with the LionsXII defence once again caught napping.
"Wleh alone killed us. The players were told to prevent any long balls coming to him, but we didn't do that, we didn't have any direction," said Fandi.
But his criticism didn't stop there.
"We're clearly lacking the commitment that we used to have. We're training well but, when it comes to the game, it all disappears. I'm really disappointed with some players."
Raihan Rahman put in a professional shift in the middle of the park, with Shahfiq Ghani a bright spark when he came on in the second half.
But there was precious little else from the LionsXII, who were demolished by the pace and power of 1.85m Wleh, a Liberian international, and a front line who still can't seem to score.
"Football is about scoring goals and if we can't score, we might as well not play football," said Fandi, livid about the chances spurned by Faris Ramli, Syafiq Zainal and Sufian Anuar.
"What's there to change, what can I do different? We practise finishing in every training session, but we just can't do it in the game."
Now, the pressure is on.
The LionsXII face Perak at home on Saturday, before ending their MSL campaign in Terengganu next Wednesday against T-Team.
Said Fandi: "I'm definitely worried. We need to buck up and win the last two games, if not we have to go into play-off to fight for a spot in the Malaysia Cup."
This article was first published on June 17, 2014.
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