The LIONSXII theme song

LIONSXII open Malaysia Super League campaign at home

LIONSXII open Malaysia Super League campaign at home

LIONSXII swallowed a bitter pill when a late penalty from Mahmoud Ghadar saw them lose 2-1 by a narrow margin to the reigning champions of the Malaysia Super League, Kelantan FA in front of 7,209 fans.

The pre-match fanfare was a spectacle to behold as almost 200 performers took to the field to put on a show to wow the fans who were already in a boisterous mood.

When captain Shahril Ishak led his team out under the watchful eyes of head coach, V.Sundramoorthy, the whole stadium was on their feet applauding the players to show them that the nation was behind them.

The first-half was a tense affair as the home side went all out in the opening 20 minutes to score and the goal finally came in the 33rd minute when a wonderful free-kick by Shahdan Sulaiman saw Baihakki Khaizan rise like a phoenix to glance the ball into the net.

With the crowd thinking that the LIONSXII were heading into the dressing room with a one-goal lead, Kelantan’s chief striker Norshahrul Idlan stunned the home side with a 44th minute thunderbolt that levelled the match.

The second-half started in similar fashion but neither side were able to find a breakthrough.

It took a 79th minute penalty that was converted by Mahmoud Ghaddar to give Peter Butler his first win of the campaign.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, LIONSXII coach V.Sundramoorthy said: “The atmosphere was wonderful and it was unfortunate that we could not give the fans a win to kick start our Malaysia Super League campaign. However, my boys did really well and you could see that they had the fight in them and we will take this with us as we now focus on the next match. This is a marathon, and we will continue to improve.

Kelantan head coach, Peter Butler was also full of praise when he said: “I thought the atmosphere was amazing. The crowd came out in support of the home team and it was a good atmosphere to play football in. This can only be good for Asian football and I am also glad that we sealed three points to start the campaign. I felt the rain suited our style of play as this pitch tends to get even faster when it is wet.”

LIONSXII Starting Line-Up: Izwan Mahbud, Isa Halim (Firdaus Kasman 71’), Baihakki Khaizan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Agu Casmir, Hariss Harun, Shahril Ishak (C) (Sufian Anuar 73’), Irwan Shah, Safuwan Baharudin, Juma’at Jantan, Yasir Hanapi (Khairul Nizam 82’)

Substitutes: Fazli Ayob, Raihan Rahman, Hyrulnizam Juma’at, Khairul Nizam, Sevki Sha’aban, Firdaus Kasman, Sufian Anuar

 Kelantan FA Starting Line-Up: Subramaniam Sooryapparad, Farisham Ismail, Shakir Shaari, Norshahrul Idlan, Aziz Ismail, Nurul Azwan (Norfarhan Mohammad 63’), Indra Putra, Daudsu Jamaludin (Zamri Ramli 85’), Badhri Radzi, Khairul Fahmi, Mahmoud Ghadar (Denny Antwi 91’)

Substitutes: Nik Mohd Shahrul Azim, Norfarham Mohammad, Zamri Ramli, Rizal Fahmi, Denny Antwi, Syazwan Yusof, S Chanturu