LionsXII continued their impressive home form by dispatching pacesetters Pahang FA 4-2 in a Malaysian Super League clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday evening, reports Kenneth Tan...
Faris Ramli fired in a brace in his return from injury, while Madhu Mohana and Safuwan Baharudin scored the other two to render goals from Matias Conti and R Surendram for the visitors mere consolations.
The victory means LionsXII have extended their unbeaten record at Jalan Besar to 12 games in all competitions this season.
Pahang created the first meaningful opportunity of the game in the 14th minute as Dickson Nwakaeme turned past two LionsXII defenders inside the area, but his grasscutter was palmed away to safety by Izwan Mahbud.
That save proved to be crucial as LionsXII broke the deadlock just three minutes later.
Nazrul Nazari flicked on a header into the path of Faris, who got past his marker before clipping a neat finish beyond the onrushing Pahang custodian Khairul Azhan Khalid from eight yards out.
Izwan made another superb save at the 20th minute to deny Conti’s goal-bound shot, which paved the way for the home side to double their advantage right on the half-hour mark.
Zulfahmi’s precise inswinging corner picked out an unmarked Madhu, who proceeded to nod emphatically past the stranded Khairul Azhan.
Just when it seemed like LionsXII were going into cruise control, Pahang pulled one back a minute before half-time as Conti’s header from Fauzi Roslan’s right-wing cross got a deflection off Faritz Hameed before nestling in the bottom left corner.
Nwakaeme could have levelled matters 10 minutes after the restart, but the Nigerian hotshot’s 20-yard drive was once again denied by the in-form Izwan.
Sahil Suhaimi was soon summoned from the bench to inject more pace into the LionsXII attack and he made his presence felt just two minutes after his introduction.
The 23-year-old teed up Faris, whose resulting shot from distance got a deflection off Pahang captain Razman Roslan before sailing past the helpless Khairul Azhan.
With still 30 minutes left to play, the LionsXII surged forward in numbers to grab a fourth goal but Madhu saw his header crashing unluckily off the bar on the 73rd minute.
They would get their fourth five minutes before time via Safuwan, who thumped home from close range after substitute Christopher Van Huizen’s corner was not properly dealt with by the Pahang defence.
Pahang substitute R. Surendran pulled one goal back for the Tok Gajah just before the final whistle, but there was no stopping the home side running out winners on the night.
The convincing triumph should give LionsXII plenty of confidence going into next Wednesday’s big away clash against defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim.
Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo