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LIONSXII moves closer to Malaysia Cup Quarter-Finals after win over Johor

LIONSXII moves closer to Malaysia Cup Quarter-Finals after win over Johor

SINGAPORE, 1st SEPTEMBER 2012: The LIONSXII continued their good form in Group A of the Malaysia Cup with another win, defeating Johor FA 1-0 in front of 4,832 fans on Saturday evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium to put one foot into the quarter finals.

The LIONSXII got off to the best possible start, opening the deadlock with just two minutes on the clock through Khairul Amri. A superb pass by defender, Baihakki Khaizan from the back, found the run of Khairul Amri, and the striker finished superbly by putting the ball into the net in off the upright.

Much like the previous home game last week against Selangor PKNS, LIONSXII head coach V. Sundramoorthy sent his team out to attack and despite not scoring, the home team went close on a number of occasions.

The closest they came to extending the lead was in the 80th minute, when Sevki Sha’ban’s header was cleared off the line.

The LIONSXII defence held firm too, snuffling out most Johor FA attacks, with goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud ensuring a clean sheet by making several important saves.

Speaking at the post match press conference, Johor FA Team Manager Fandi Ahmad cited the early goal as the catalyst for their defeat. “I thought it was a very exciting game, but I felt we were caught by surprise by the goal, although it was a good goal,” said the Singapore footballing legend. “Our boys went to sleep; one of the defender did not follow the line.”

He added, “I thought we gave a good fight, the amount of chances we created was a lot and we never sit back; we attacked. For us, we want to enjoy the game and obviously we want to do it while winning, but not all is lost for us. We still have some hope, but that will all depend on the Lions against PKNS and Johor FC,” added Fandi.

He also praised LIONSXII striker Amri for the goal, saying, “It was an opportunist goal. He made a good run and just turned and shoot; it was a good goal.”  Fandi also took time to thank the Singapore fans for the reception he got from them tonight.

LIONSXII head coach V. Sundramoorthy felt that it was a tough game tonight, and he was happy with the three points collected. Said Sundram, “It’s the Malaysia Cup. Small teams will rise up their tempo and as you know, Johor FA really needed the win to keep themselves in the race (to make the knockout stages).”

The former striker added, “As the game went on, they threw more and more strikers to try to get the equalizer. For us, getting the goal early and trying to defend it was difficult but we manage to collect the points and we will now look forward to the next game,”.

He too agreed that Amri’s goal was a good one. He said, “It was a great goal. The keeper had no time to react. It’s good for him because he was out for quite some time and this will really give him the boost he needs to go out and perform better. He’s a player who is hungry and he will only get better.”

The Lions will next take on Selangor PKNS away in their penultimate game in the group stages of the Malaysia Cup.

*For match details, click here: http://lionsxii.sg/details/mc12-lionsxii-vs-johor-fa/