Football: LionsXII out of Malaysia Cup despite gallant 2-0 win over Pahang

LionsXII and Pahang players reacting at the final whistle.
LionsXII and Pahang players reacting at the final whistle. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
Christopher van Huizen celebrating after opening the scoring.
Christopher van Huizen celebrating after opening the scoring. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

The LionsXII bowed out of the Malaysia Cup - and Malaysian football as well - despite a 2-0 quarter-final second-leg win over Pahang at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.

The Singapore outfit lost the clash 3-4 on aggregate, punished for a hapless 1-4 thumping during Tuesday's first leg in Kuantan.

In the return leg, winger Christopher van Huizen opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a stunning left-foot volley that beat a fully-stretched Khairul Azhan in the Pahang goal.

Five minutes later, with the visitors' backline in shambles, a neat flick from van Huizen - who was celebrating his 23th birthday - opened up space for Nazrul Nazari. The right-back delivered a pinpoint cross for Faris Ramli to nod in from close range and spark joyous scenes in the stands.

Buoyed on by a crowd of 5,898, the hosts pressed ahead for the all-important third goal, coming closest when Faris' curling effort struck the crossbar.

However, despite a breathless final half-hour, it was not to be for the LionsXII as their four-year stint across the Causeway came to a painful end.

The Football Association of Malaysia had announced on Tuesday that they will not be extending a partnership that saw the LionsXII play across the Causeway and Malaysia's development squad Harimau Muda feature in Singapore's S-League.

Fandi Ahmad's troops are expected to be kept together as a team to compete in the S-League next year, having been assured by the Football Association of Singapore that their salaries will remain the same.