Football: LionsXII still tops despite 1-1 draw with Perak, match marred by free for all

IPOH - Once again, the LionsXII's set-piece excellence has shone brightly in the Malaysian Super League (MSL) as V. Sundramoorthy's men inched closer to the title on Tuesday night.

With hosts Perak hungry to end the Singapore side's 14-match unbeaten run, it took another lethal dead ball to secure a precious point.

The LionsXII remain on top of the 12-team table with 40 points, four points ahead of Johor Darul Takzim, with two matches left. Johor's 1-1 draw with Felda United also meant that they slipped to third place behind Selangor, who won 2-1 at PKNS.

Sundram's side will wrap up the title next Tuesday if they can beat Felda at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Perak took the lead in the 59th minute when Brazilian striker Paulo Rengal swooped in at the far post to score after midfielder Yong Kuong Yong's shot from outside the box was parried by goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

But striker Shahfiq Ghani, who had been on the pitch for only seven minutes, blasted a swerving and dipping free kick from 25 metres to equalise and sparked scenes of wild celebrations on the LionsXII bench.

The match came to a fiery and controversial end when Rangel's stoppage-time header appeared to cross the line but was disallowed by referee Kamal Ahmad.

That sparked massive protests from the Perak players and coaching staff. And moments later, both sets of players pushed and shoved each other after defender Safuwan Baharudin collided with a Perak player.

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