LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad was pleased his faith in Khairul Nizam paid off after the injury-prone forward came off the bench to score a stupendous scissors kick equaliser against Selangor FA on Saturday night.
The curtains seemed to be coming down on the LionsXII’s formidable unbeaten home record this season as they trailed 0-1 to Selangor, but Nizam pulled one right out of the top drawer with three minutes left on the clock.
As Faritz Hameed’s cross came in from the right and sailed over the head of Selangor defender Rizal Fahmi, the 24-year-old launched himself in mid-air to connect sweetly with the leather and duly arrowed his strike past a helpless Norazlan Razali in the Selangor goal.
It was a goal that impressed coach Fandi, who was no stranger to scoring speculative efforts in his heyday.
“Yeah, definitely (one of the best goals that I’ve ever seen),” he said at the post-match press conference.
“It was fantastic because it was more of a showmanship goal! I thought he could have chested it down first but he took it first time, which shows his confidence.
“We always have faith in him because he can make a difference with his physical presence; you can see after he came in, we won a few high balls.”
“When we put him on, we told him that he better do something and he really did something special for everyone.
“Sometimes in training he’s trying and trying (to do that) which is not easy, so I’m really happy for him.”
Selangor counterpart Mehmet Durakovic was similarly left in awe at the quality of Nizam’s strike.
“It was a fantastic performance from my players, but there’s nothing you can do about this,” said the Australian.
“It was a truly wonderful world-class goal.”
Meanwhile, Nizam was pleased to see his dream of scoring with an acrobatic effort finally coming to fruition.
“It’s definitely the best goal of my career so far,” the 24-year-old said.
“I’ve been trying this in training where I managed to do it a lot of times, but I’ve never done so in a real game because it requires hitting it at the right timing.
“Now at least I got what I’ve been aiming for today and it feels really great. I’m so happy that everyone here and on the television back home can see it.”