LionsXII 2 Perak FA 1: Fortress Jalan Besar holds

The LionsXII extended their unbeaten home record to 10 games in all competitions after a come-from-behind 2-1 win over high-flying Perak FA at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday night.

Korean hotshot Namkung Woong put the visitors into an early lead before Hafiz Sujad levelled matters for the LionsXII on the stroke of half time.

Safuwan Baharudin then scored shortly after the break to help his side to their second Malaysian Super League (MSL) win in as many matches.

LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad opted to retain the same line-up which started in the impressive 3-0 mauling of Kelantan FA, but they were unable to impose themselves on the proceedings early on.

Instead, it was Perak which settled in the better of the two sides as they opened the scoring in the 13th minute.

Tuah Iskandar Jamaluddin received a short corner from Nurridzuan Abu Hassan, before firing in a superb deep cross into the box for Namkung to head in off the left-hand post.

The home side could have levelled matters just a minute later, but Safuwan was unable to keep his header down from Madhu Mohana’s cross.

The LionsXII then enjoyed a flurry of corner kicks in succession, but were unable to take full advantage.

At the other end, Charles Souza Chad should perhaps have made it two after a neat cutback from Fikri Sudin inside the box but the Brazilian hitman somehow scuffed his shot wide.

It looked like the Bos Gaurus would go into the break with their one-goal advantage, but they didn't account for Hafiz’s timely intervention a minute into injury time.

Perak centre-back Thiago Junior Aquino had failed to properly deal with Faris’ cross from the left, allowing a lurking Hafiz to slot home the equaliser for his third goal of the season.

Goalscorer Namkung was then hauled off at half time for Horace James, but the switch handed the initiative to the LionsXII as they scored again eight minutes into the second half.  

After Khairul Amri was brought down by Tuah on the left side of the area, Shahdan Sulaiman whipped in a perfect ball into the six-yard box for Safuwan to head home and put his side into a 2-1 lead.

Buoyed by the goal, the LionsXII had further opportunities to find a third to kill off the game.

However, Amri’s 25-yard freekick was well parried by Perak keeper Zamir Selamat and Nazrul Nazari fired just wide after taking the ball off Hisyamudin Sha'ari.

Up the other end, Perak were desperate to restore parity but were agonisingly denied on two occasions in the final 15 minutes.

First, Izwan denied James in a one-on-one before smothering Chad’s follow-up, then it was Hafiz’s turn to be the hero as he hacked Chad’s goalbound header off the line.

The LionsXII held out for all three points on offer, which should allow them to go into the three-week league break on a high.

Their next game will be Sunday, August 2 when they host Felda United.

Photo: Weixiang Lim