LionsXII have tails up

Faris Ramli is among the LionsXII's scorers in the 3-0 win against Kelantan but the joy is marred by an injury to goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud who was stretchered off.
Faris Ramli is among the LionsXII's scorers in the 3-0 win against Kelantan but the joy is marred by an injury to goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud who was stretchered off.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

They boss their rivals throughout game and are dominant in every department

LionsXII 3
Kelantan 0

The LionsXII must be wishing they could meet Kelantan every week.

Just over a month ago, the Singapore outfit registered their most important win of the season - a 3-1 victory over the same opponents in the Malaysia FA Cup final.

Last night, Fandi Ahmad's charges turned in their most impressive display of the campaign - a 3-0 win in a Malaysia Super League match at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

At the final whistle, the statistics painted a picture of total domination over the Malaysian visitors.

The hosts took 20 shots in the match while finishing the game with an impressive 55 per cent of the overall possession.

The LionsXII were dominant in every department, with Shahdan Sulaiman, who was handed his first start of the season, particularly impressive for the hosts.

During the Cup final, the LionsXII were under immense pressure, with goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud constantly called upon to bail his side out of trouble.

But, last night, he was barely activated, except for a 77th-minute save to deny Iwuji Amamchi.

The watertight defence that stood before him swept clear every potential danger while the trio of Shahdan, Izzdin Shafiq and Safuwan Baharudin sizzled at the heart of midfield as they bossed Kelantan about throughout the 90 minutes.

On the wings, Faris Ramli and Gabriel Quak were a menace all night for the opposition full-backs.

Unable to match the hosts on the field technically, Kelantan resorted to hacking down their opponents - resulting in the LionsXII winning an amazing 17 fouls in the match.

Faris opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute when he slotted in after Kelantan goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi had parried Safuwan's effort from outside the box onto his path.

Khairul Amri added the second of the night and his seventh goal of the season in the 79th minute when he finished from a Faris pass after a flowing counter-attacking move from the LionsXII.

Two then became three in the 84th minute when Shahdan set up Faris to lash the ball into the net from the edge of the box.

The win though was marred by an injury to Izwan who was stretchered off the pitch following a knock to his ankle in the 87th minute.

LionsXII coach Fandi said: "I thought it was a fantastic performance from the start to the end."

"We dominated and created chances. Today is one of the best games where we showed good combinations," he added.

The victory means that the LionsXII still remain unbeaten at home with seven wins and two draws from the nine matches in all competitions this season.

They will host Perak FA in their next game on Wednesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2015, with the headline 'LIONSXII HAVE TAILS UP'. Print Edition | Subscribe