Written by: Nigel Chin
The LionsXII continued their unbeaten streak at home with a 3-0 win over Kelantan FA on Saturday evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
A brace from Faris Ramli and Khairul Amri’s second league goal of the season helped the LionsXII to a comfortable win in a rematch of May’s FA Cup final, as they made it nine games without a defeat in all competitions at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The home side dominated from start to finish and it did not take long before the LionsXII broke the deadlock through Faris, who incidentally also scored the opening goal in the FA Cup final.
Kelantan custodian Khairul Fahmi made a mess out of what should have been a routine save from Safuwan Baharudin’s shot from range, and Faris was the first to react to tuck in the rebound.
Two minutes later, Safuwan almost doubled the lead, but his free-kick fizzed inches past the right post.
Izzdin Shafiq then forced Fahmi into a save from range after a corner was half-cleared by Kelantan, before Gabriel Quak wasted a golden opportunity in the 25th minute after Hafiz Sujad found him with a brilliant cut-back as he fired straight at Fahmi despite having all the time in the world.
The second half started the same way the first ended, with the hosts in total control.
Faris once again had another chance, but his attempt from the edge flew straight into Fahmi’s arms.
Kelantan threatened to equalise in the 50th minute when Wan Zaharulnizam threaded a ball through to Amamchi but he was foiled by Izwan Mahbud’s last-ditch tackle. The clash caused the ball to loop towards goal, but Nazrul Nazari was able to clear the danger despite having to tussle with two attackers.
Amamchi continued to be Kelantan’s dangerman and nine minutes, later he fired narrowly wide after shrugging off Shakir Hamzah’s challenge inside the box.
Izwan then produced a stupendous save to stop Amamchi in the 79th minute to keep the LionsXII in the lead before Shakir deflected Gilmar Filho’s follow-up out.
Kelantan’s failure to convert their chances came back to haunt them as the LionsXII doubled the lead in the 80th minute.
Running at the heart of Kelantan’s defence, Faris found Amri with an inch-perfect pass. The striker made no mistake with his finish into the bottom corner, ending an eight-game goal drought in the league.
Faris then got in on the act once again in the 83rd minute, as he netted his second of the night by curling the ball into the bottom corner after playing a one-two with Shahdan Sulaiman.
LionsXII: Izwan Mahbud (GK)(C) (Khairulhin Khalid 88’), Nazrul Nazari, Madhu Mohana, Shakir Hamzah, Hafiz Sujad, Safuwan Baharudin, Izzdin Shafiq, Gabriel Quak (Christopher van Huizen 78’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Faris Ramli, Khairul Amri (Sufian Anuar 89’)