The LIONSXII theme song

LIONSXII through to the Malaysia Cup Semi-Finals

LIONSXII through to the Malaysia Cup Semi-Finals

SINGAPORE, 2 OCTOBER 2012 : A dominating display in the second leg of the Malaysia Cup Quarter-Finals saw the LionsXII defeat Pahang FA by a score of 3-2 on aggregate to advance into the Semi-Finals of the Malaysia Cup in front of a sold out crowd of 7,429.

The LionsXII was the better team from start to finish, securing a 2-0 win, and this was exemplified by the performance of Shahril Ishak, who led the team with a captain’s performance by scoring a brace.

Trailing by a one-goal deficit from the first leg, the LionsXII came out of the game intent on attacking their visitors right from the start, and could have opened the scoring in just 30 seconds after a brilliant pass from Captain Shahril Ishak set Shahdan Sulaiman through on goal, but the attacking midfielder’s shot was too tame to trouble Pahang FA goalkeeper Wan Muhd Azraie.

They continued to press the players in yellow, constantly searching for that important opening goal, and after a few attempts by both sides, the breakthrough finally came in the thirty fifth minute.

Following a set-piece, Pahang failed to clear their lines, and a Hariss Harun-lofted pass found Captain Marvel Shahril, who nodded it beyond the reach of Wan Muhd to break the deadlock.

Two minutes later, the LionsXII were struck by bad news after forward Khairul Amri, who had performed admirably in the opening thirty minutes, had to go off for Agu Casmir due to injury.

Despite a one goal lead, the LionsXII continued to press on for a second goal to secure a win on aggregate, and they got it eventually in the 79th minute.

A wicked curling cross from the left by midfielder Safirul Sulaiman found the no. 17, who powered a header into the far corner to wrap up the game.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Pahang FA coach Dollah Salleh ceded that the Lions full deserved to go through to the Semi-Finals. “LionsXII deserved to win.

They took advantage and created two, three chances and we made a few mistakes,” said the former Malaysian international. “They took the opportunity and that was it.

“We lost out on experience, and the LionsXII really made use of the advantage of playing on the artificial pitch. My boys tried very hard but still failed.”

He was also not surprised by the outstanding performance of Shahril Ishak when asked. “I always advice my players when talking about Shahril, that although he had just recovered from injury, he’s always a danger man,” he answered.

LionsXII head coach V Sundramoorthy felt that his players did well, especially after managing to hold on in the opening fifteen minutes when Pahang FA had a couple of chances.

“In the first half, especially the first 15 minutes, Pahang had at least 2-3 chances. We were quite lucky to escape the scare, and we slowly grew into the game. That was the turning point, Pahang didn’t take their chances and the Lions got better and better as the game went on.”

He also commented on the performance of Captain ‘Marvel’, stating, “Shahril is a big match player. Whenever there’s a big crowd, or a big match, he will definitely deliver and he did just that today (with two goals).”

He also added that the game itself was exhilarating, mostly thanks to the backing of the home crowd ” (It was) very difficult game to stay on the touchline. Tensions were very high. The crowd was excellent, and I need them on Friday.”

The LionsXII will take on ATM FA in the first leg of the Semi-Finals on Friday, 5 October, at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Tickets for this match will go on sale from 3rd October, 10am, for more details, click here

*For match details, click here.