The LIONSXII theme song

Captain Shahril scores winning goal for LionsXII

Captain Shahril scores winning goal for LionsXII

LionsXII 1 – 0 Negeri Sembilan

Singapore, 30 March 2013: LionsXII’s captain Shahril Ishak scored the winning goal in the 78th minute, and extended LionsXII’s perfect record on home turf at the Jalan Besar Stadium. That was the fifth successive victory for LionsXII, following wins against Selangor (1-0), Terengganu (2-1), Pahang (3-0), and Kelantan (1-0) in the opening period of the Malaysian Super League (MSL).

Shahril’s goal also lifted LionsXII atop of the league table, with one point lead over Selangor and Johor Darul Takzim, and two points over ATM. The LionsXII will have a chance to extend the lead on top of the table to four points as they have a game in hand.

Both teams began on a slow start after a three-week international break. It was Fazrul Nawaz who finally sparked LionsXII into action after 11 minutes of play. Shahfiq Ghani presented Fazrul with a through pass, and Fazrul’s shot went straight into Negeri Sembilan’s goalkeeper and captain Hamsani Ahmad (#21). Fazrul got another attempt at goal two minutes later, when his cross-shot almost lobbed Hamsani.

Five minutes from the end of the first half, Fazrul had a penalty claim after Negeri Sembilan’s defender Norismaidhan Ismail (#8) tripped him in the penalty area. Negeri Sembilan came closest to nick in a goal in the 44th minute when midfielder Nazrin Nawi (#23) tested Izwan Mahbud with a low powerful drive. It was all even at half-time.

LionsXII kicked off the second half with much attacking intent. It took just seven minutes before LionsXII had a shot on target, courtesy of Shahril’s header. But Shahril had a clash of heads with Safuwan Baharudin when both of team went for a cross by Baihakki Khaizan. Ten minutes later, Shahril got his chance to score for LionsXII when he dribbled pass two defenders. His shot, however, went straight into Hamsani’s arms.

Fazrul’s last contribution of the game came in the 68th minute when he tried a shot on goal. He was replaced by Gabriel Quak, who took over the left wing.

Negeri Sembilan continued to pour forward whenever LionsXII lost the ball. In the 72nd minute, Nazrin (#23) whizzed pass Isa Halim and Baihakki but his shot went straight into Izwan’s safe hands. Three minutes later, LionsXII coach V Sundramoorthy made another change, and brought on Nazrul Nazari for Faris Ramli. That substitution proved vital.

It took just three minutes for Nazrul to make his mark, as he provided a good cross for captain Shahril to nick in a header at the near post. With a goal down, Negeri Sembilan coach Divaldo Alves swooped striker Firdaus Azizul (#19) for midfielder Norismaidham Ismail (#8). But the change was not enough to salvage a draw as LionsXII held on to take a victory.

Negeri Sembilan coach Divaldo Alves said at the post-match press conference: “The LionsXII deserved to win. My team is not playing their usual style. I have some important players who are not here as they are still injured. However, we need to be more focused.”

On the probability of signing new players in the transfer window, coach Divaldo said: “I am focused on the next game. But we will see about the transfer when the window opens in April.”

LionsXII coach V Sundramoorthy said: “Games are getting tougher and to be fair, Negeri is a good team. It could be a lack of concentration for them. We became stronger in the last period and we wanted to get the result on home ground.”

On Shahril’s performance, coach Sundram said: “I feel for Shahril. He has been working hard in trainings and I have told him that if he continues to play well, the goals will come. Whenever he scores, we will get the three points.”

On being on top of the league table, coach Sundram said: “We are going to enjoy the moment (for now), but there are still 12 more games to play in the MSL. We will remain focused for the next game (against Perak) at home.”

The next MSL game for LionsXII is scheduled on Saturday, 6 April 2013, where they will play Perak at the Jalan Besar Stadium. The match will kick off at 7.45pm. We hope to see you LionsXII fans at the stadium then! ROAR LIONSXII ROAR!