Safuwan has final say in injury time

Safuwan Baharudin, seen here scoring the LionsXII's first goal, also came up with the winning header in stoppage time.
Safuwan Baharudin, seen here scoring the LionsXII's first goal, also came up with the winning header in stoppage time.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

His brace gives LionsXII rare away win and sets them up for Terengganu tie on Saturday


Johor DT II 1

LionsXII 2

They were starved of away wins this season, registering just four victories in 15 matches in the Malaysia Super League and Malaysian FA Cup. And they had arrived in Johor Baru on the back of a four-match losing streak on the road.

However, the LionsXII shook off their poor away form last night, and ignited their Malaysia Cup campaign with a dramatic 2-1 win against Johor Darul Takzim II (JDT II) at Pasir Gudang.

Safuwan Baharudin's stoppage- time winner sparked wild celebrations in the LionsXII camp, as they responded positively following a lacklustre 1-1 home draw against Kedah last week.

The two sides are now level on points atop Group A.

However, Kedah lead on goal difference after thrashing Terengganu 5-0 on Friday.

Said LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad: "It was a good win for us. I thought we dominated the game, we created good chances... playing away. We fought very hard till the end. I think we deserved to win."

He had Safuwan's aerial prowess to thank for the victory as the defensive midfielder also headed in their opening goal in the 23rd minute.

Despite fielding two strikers - Khairul Amri and Sahil Suhaimi - Fandi could only watch as the duo struggled to find the net, with Sahil twice denied by the woodwork.

The misses looked to cost the LionsXII when JDT II equalised in the 72nd minute. Argentinian midfielder Nicolas Delmonte converted a penalty after Faritz Hameed had brought down Akmal Ishak.

The LionsXII were frustrated in the 81st minute when Amri's free kick was disallowed. The assistant referee deemed Safuwan to have blocked the JDT II goalie's vision.

But as the LionsXII continued piling on the pressure, up popped Safuwan to seal the vital victory.

The win will give the LionsXII momentum as they seek to lift the Cup for the first time since 1994.

They will face Terengganu at home on Saturday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 20, 2015, with the headline 'Safuwan has final say in injury time'. Print Edition | Subscribe