The LIONSXII theme song

STUNNING COMEBACK BY LIONSXII FLOORS TERENGGANU

STUNNING COMEBACK BY LIONSXII FLOORS TERENGGANU

The LionsXII overcame a first-half deficit to stage a stunning comeback to beat Terengganu 2-1 in a pulsating display of penetrative passes and one-twos.

Terengganu drew first blood by scoring in the 32nd minute through Jean-Emmanuel Effa Owona. The much-feared Terengganu dangerman was a constant thorn in the LionsXII side in the first half but was neutralised in the second half by more robust defending by the LionsXII.

The first half of the match was punctuated by several misses by both sides but the LionsXII had more chances but poor finishing let them down. Shahfiq Ghani, who deputised for the suspended Fazrul Nawaz, caused heartache to the nearly 7,000 fans present at Jalan Besar Stadium when his curling free kick was saved by Terengganu’s custodian Wan Muhd Azraie in the 29th minute.

In the second half, the LionsXII came out rejuvenated and brought the game to the Terengganu side. Their incessant penetrative passes resulted in many forced errors by the Terengganu players. The stadium erupted when Safuwan Baharudin’s goal found the net in the 64th minute. Ten minutes later, Syafiq Zainal’s header, off a free kick, sealed victory for the LionsXII.

The LionsXII captain Shahril Ishak, was inspiring and worked tirelessly to create several chances and score. He was everywhere, creating chances, manning the midfield and taking shots at goal. The younger players, notably Syafiq, Shafiq and Gabriel were impressive too.

Terengganu’s coach, E Elavarasan, in the post-match interview, said, “The LionsXII were better and they had the extra push once they equalised.” He said, “Once the LionsXII got the equaliser, it pushed them to go for the winner.”

V Sundramoorthy, LionsXII coach agreed that the the LionsXII came out a different team in the second half.  “Two positive changes in second half turned the game. In the second half we were more fluid, lots of penetration and passes,” he said.

Paying tribute to his players, Sundram singled out Gabriel for forcing ‘lots of “free-kicks.”  Gabriel, playing in only his second match for the LionsXII, impressed with his play. Sundram also praised the team as a whole for giving off their best, He said, it is a” good thing for players to step up. It’s still early season. It’s about consistency and it will take some time before they mature. In the meantime, all will work harder to fight for their place,” he said.

The LionsXII meet the T-team, in an away match, at Stadium Ismail Nasiruddin Shah at Kuala Terengganu on Tuesday, 22 January 2013. The match starts at 4.45 pm and will be telecast live on Starhub Channel 201.