SINGAPORE, 21 MARCH 2015: LionsXII were simply irrepressible on Saturday evening as they trounced Malaysia Premier League side KL SPA Putrajaya 4-0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The home team made it through to the Malaysia FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time in two years, where they will next face Johor Darul Ta’zim II.
Khairul Amri scored a brace in the game, while Madhu Mohana and Gabriel Quak too found the back of the net.
Super-sub Sahil Suhaimi and Christopher Van Huizen were given their first starts of the season, and they did their best to vindicate their coach’s decision.
With five minutes on the clock, Van Huizen could have opened the scoring but he screwed his shot over with the goal at his mercy.
A couple of minutes later, KL SPA’s defenders had to make goal-saving blocks as Madhu Mohana and Afiq Yunos were given opportunities to pull the trigger in the box.
The duo continued to be a menace whenever they pushed up forward to attack set-pieces, and it resulted in the opener in the 17th minute.
After seeing his initial header deflected over, Madhu then met Quak’s inswinging corner at the far post and thumped a powerful effort past KL SPA goalkeeper Mahathir Mohammad.
Quak was involved again 10 minutes later, as he showed neat touches to skip to the byline and cut in a cross for Afiq but the defender’s overhead kick flew over the bar.
The hosts did not have to wait long for the second goal though, as Amri scored a magical goal in the 27th minute.
Despite being tightly marked in the box, the talismanic forward still managed to lift the ball over Mahathir from an acute angle to leave the cheering home fans amazed.
Sahil could have made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute when Van Huizen played on a perfect pass for him at the far post, but the striker could only shoot straight at Mahathir.
In the second-half, KL SPA gave a slightly improved performance and took the game to the hosts on several occasions.
The LionsXII were given a huge let off in the 54th minute, when Norhafizzuan Jailani had seemingly raced through on goal. However, he was stopped in his tracks by Afiq, right on the edge of the box.
LionsXII then put the game out of KL SPA’s reach in the 58th minute, as Quak struck a 20-yard shot past Mahathir to make it 3-0.
Amri could have earned his brace in the 74th minute after he latched onto Madhu’s raking cross and raced through on goal, but his shot was parried by the busy KL SPA keeper.
However, the forward was not to be denied in the 84th minute as he took down Izzdin Shafiq’s free-kick and dispatched a close-range shot to make it 4-0.
LionsXII lineup: Izwan Madbud (GK) (C), Madhu Mohana (Faris Azienuddin 81’), Afiq Yunos, Zulfahmi Arifin, Hafiz Sujad, Gabriel Quak, Firdaus Kasman (Sufian Anuar 83’), Izzdin Shafiq, Christopher Van Huizen, Sahil Suhaimi (Faris Ramli 68′), Amri Khairul
KL SPA Putrajaya lineup: Mahathir Mohammad (GK), Alyy Imran Samarkhan (Ahmad Rafiuddin 87’) Aslam Najumuden (C), Kwon Jun, Hishamuddin Othman, Fazly Iskandar (Nik Azlam 78′), Norhafizzuan Jailani, Khairil Anuar, Ibrahim Jobeli (Rohaizat Ruzaimi 55′), Noor Azizi Azman, Ijezie Michael Chuwubunna