ATM FA 1
THERE was a change of kit, a change of personnel and ultimately a dreaded change of fortunes for the LionsXII after they were held to a 1-1 draw by ATM FA at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi, Seremban, yesterday.
On Saturday,the LionsXII had beaten the same opponents 3-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium, in their red home kit.
Last night, clad in their blue away kit and resting key players Khairul Amri and Faris Ramli, Fandi Ahmad's men could only settle for a point.
The performance and result once again exposed the LionsXII's frailties on the road.
With the latest stalemate, the Singapore outfit, currently seventh in the standings, have managed to win only one of their seven away matches, with three draws and three defeats.
At home, coach Fandi's side are impregnable, remaining unbeaten in five matches with three wins and two draws.
Their only victory away from home came against last-placed Sime Darby on May 2, when they won 2-1.
With a visit to face PDRM FA, who are fifth in the 12-team league, on Friday, Fandi rang the changes as he rested Faris and Amri for the clash.
It was Faris' replacement, Hafiz Abu Sujad, who opened the scoring in the 42nd minute.
After being afforded time and space in the box, he found the bottom corner of the net with a precise, left-footed strike.
ATM FA then clinched a controversial equaliser in the 58th minute.
LionsXII defender Madhu Mohana was adjudged to have tripped Abdulafees Abdulsalam in the area although television replays showed that the incident took place just outside the penalty box.
Abdulafees stepped up and sent goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud the wrong way.
Fandi was crestfallen at the final whistle as he hit out at the referee's decision to award a penalty.
"We deserved to win the game," he said.
"That was never a penalty and this is the first time that I am so angry with a referee.
"We should have had at least one penalty but now we just have to forget this result and move on."
He was referring to an incident in the first half when Hafiz was kicked in the back in the area but ATM escaped unpunished.
The LionsXII will be hoping to find a cure to their travel sickness when they face PDRM at the MBPJ Stadium in Petaling Jaya on Friday.