GEORGE TOWN: Penang team manager Zairil Khir Johari has come out in support of his goalkeeper Syed Adney Syed Hussein.
The 30-year-old stopper came under fire from Penang fans after his error led to Selangor’s second goal in the 2-0 Super League loss on Saturday.
Under no pressure, he cleared the ball straight to Selangor’s Saiful Selamat inside the Penang half.
The Penang defenders couldn’t backtrack in time as Saiful played in striker Forkey Doe to shoot past Syed Adney.
A group of Penang fans hurled abuse at Syed Adney outside the Selayang Stadium after the defeat. The much-travelled goalkeeper also has had to put up with criticism for his performance on social media.
The Selangor match was Syed Adney’s maiden appearance for Penang after signing for the Panthers last week.
The Liverpool-born former Selangor, Kelantan, Terengganu, Armed Forces, Sabah and Negri Sembilan player was thrown straight into action following a knee injury to first-choice goalkeeper Sani Anuar Kamsani.
“I am surprised with the unfair reaction from the Penang supporters,” said Zairil yesterday.
“Syed Adney made a costly error, but he also produced many saves. The fans shouldn’t treat him harshly based on one error in his first game. They should look at his overall performance.”
Syed Adney can expect more scrutiny from the fans on Friday when Penang take on Perak in their first home game of the season at the State Stadium in Batu Kawan.
Zairil pleaded for patience and support from the fans, especially towards the young players in the team.
“We have only played one match. It’s too early to start condemning the team.
“We’ve several young players like 19-year-old Syameer (Kutty Abba) and 21-year-old Zulkhairi Zulkheply making their Super League debuts against Selangor.
“The youngsters need all the support and encouragement they can get from their own fans.”
Besides Syameer and Zulkhairi, the other young players in coach Ashley Westwood’s squad are S. Kumaahran (20), Muhammad Jafri Chew (19), Redzuan Suhaidi (21), Abdul Qayyum Jabrullah (21) and the Ghazli twins – Failee and Faizat (22).
Many fans also questioned the team management’s rationale in signing three defensive import players.
Centrebacks Reinaldo Lobo of Brazil and Hong Kong’s Andrew Russell and defensive midfielder Diogo Ferreira of Australia all featured against Selangor.
Papua New Guinea international Nigel Dabinyaba, Penang’s sole foreign striker, missed the game through injury.