Football: LionsXII breathe life into MSL title defence with 4-1 rout of Pahang

LionsXII striker Sufian Anuar celebrates after scoring against Malaysian Super League leaders Pahang at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. His 17-minute hat-trick gave the LionsXII a 4-1 victory, closing the gap between the two sides
LionsXII striker Sufian Anuar celebrates after scoring against Malaysian Super League leaders Pahang at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. His 17-minute hat-trick gave the LionsXII a 4-1 victory, closing the gap between the two sides to just four points. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

LionsXII striker Sufian Anuar scored a 17-minute hat-trick as he led his side to a 4-1 victory against Malaysian Super League leaders Pahang at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday, closing the gap between the two sides to just four points.

His goals in the 79th, 92nd and 94th minutes gave his side victory, after Safuwan Baharudin's 29th-minute effort had cancelled out Damion Stewart's strike in the eighth minute.

The visitors took the lead when Jamaican defender Stewart lost his marker Afiq Yunos to meet a Azidan Sarudin free-kick and volley the ball past goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

But LionsXII captain Safuwan Baharudin equalised after he rifled home a loose ball off a corner that was tipped out by Pahang goalkeeper Khairul Azhan.

Sufian, brought on as a substitute for the injured Khairul Nizam in the 52nd minute, gave his side the lead when he somehow diverted a deflected Khairul Amri shot into the net.

He scored his second of the night in the 92nd minute, when he prodded home an Amri cross from the right, and completed his hat-trick as he fired home a loose ball that was parried out by Khairul Azhan.