The LIONSXII theme song

LionsXII through to the Quarter-finals of Malaysia Cup 2012

LionsXII through to the Quarter-finals of Malaysia Cup 2012

SINGAPORE, 14 SEPTEMBER 2012: The LionsXII qualified for the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Cup after finishing top of group A, following a 0-0 draw with Johor FC in front of 4,987 fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.

The LIONSXII started the game brightly in a bid to earn a win, pressuring their visitors right from kick off. They launched wave after wave of crosses into the box, particulary through Irwan Shah and Shaiful Esah on the right wing, but on most occasions, Johor FC’s goalkeeper Zamir Selamat did well to deal with the danger.

In the 20th minute, an attacking move saw Shahdan Sulaiman, Shahril Ishak and Irwan Shah combined to set Khairul Amri up, but Amri’s side footed attempt was saved comfortably by Zamir Selamat.

There was an early scare for the LionsXII however, as hardworking fullback Juma’at Jantan had to go off injured in the middle of the first half, prompting head coach V Sundramoorthy to bring on Yasir Hanapi.

Despite that, they still continued to attack and Safuwan Baharudin almost managed to put the LionsXII one goal up after being set up by a superb through ball by Hariss Harun, only to see his attempted lob well-saved by Zamir in the 36th minute.

With the first half coming to an end with no change to the score-line, both teams came on for the next 45 minutes, with the intention to break the deadlock but it was just not meant to be.

As both teams’ backline were in command, every attacking move was thwarted quick and with ease.

The match then came to an end with the scoreboard reading, LionsXII 0-0 Johor FC.

Speaking at the post match press conference, Johor FC head coach Sazali Saidon conceded that he did set his team out to play defensively.

“We were cautious due to the injuries we suffered in the first half. Also, we know Singapore is a very good team, so we set out to be defensive while we tried to attack through the counter,” he said.

He also added that a draw is a very good result for his team.

LionsXII head coach V. Sundramoorthy mentioned, “The first half you saw the game, it was very exciting. We moved forward and tried to create chances. The boys went out to attack and they tried to score. In the second half they were tired and tried to rely on the counter, but Johor were happy to sit back and pass the ball around. I think as the game progressed, the players were tired as they have played a lot of games. The tempo slowed down as a result.”

“We were still trying to pass the ball and create something, but Johor were sitting back and ten players were sitting behind the ball. It is not easy to break down teams defending like this. We tried hitting passes to Amri but Johor’s defenders were big-sized.” he added.

He also had a message for the loyal supporters who have been very supportive since the LionsXII started their journey in the Malaysia Super League, as well as the Malaysia Cup.

He said, “I definitely would love for them to support us in the quarter finals. Now the boys will be fresher, and they have got seven days before the QF game. I would love for them to come back and support us.”

The LionsXII will take on Pahang FA in the quarter finals next after they lost 3-2 to T-Team and finished second in Group C.

For match details, click here