Report: LionsXII 2-1 PKNS FC
Faris Ramli's powerful left-footed strike on the hour mark proved to be the winning goal for LionsXII as they came from a goal down to defeat PKNS 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
The Malaysia Super League side were left trailing to Nazmi Faiz's opening goal after just 30 minutes of play, when the nippy winger worked his way past the LionsXII defence to rifle a low shot past Izwan Mahbud.
LionsXII started the game without captain Isa Halim, who has been slated to undergo surgery to remedy an achilles injury. Safuwan Baharudin took over the captain's armband and returned to his usual centreback role partnering Afiq Yunos, after the recent defensive shuffle against Sarawak FA resulted in a disappointing 3-1 defeat with the lanky defender playing upfront.
Nevertheless the home side struggled to inch forward in the opening half of the match, and also looked vulnerable at the back. They were rightly punished by Nazmi's goal but did well to quickly bounce back and get themselves into the game.
Zulfahmi Arifin, stood up to take a free-kick from 25 yards out that he had earned, and did brilliantly to curl his effort clean over the wall and into the top corner of the goal past the reach of the outstretched Remezy Che Ros.
The goal got the home fans back on their feet and they were almost sent into raptures just minutes later when Zulfahmi attempted a similar effort to his first. This time however his free-kick cannoned off the crossbar after clearing the wall and looking to beat Remezy as well.
That effort ended the first period of play and handed the impetus to LionsXII to return in search of a winning goal for the second-half.
But PKNS were also not settled for a draw themselves as they introduced Liberian international Patrick Wleh Ronaldinho.
However it was Fandi Ahmad's side that would find the winning goal.
The introduction of Sufian Anuar played a part in the winning effort, as the striker combined with Khairul Amri to set up Faris Ramli on the inside left of the penalty box. The winger who had been resolute all night, unleashed a left-footed strike that beat Remezy at the near post and handed the LionsXII the lead.
Khairul Amir went close to doubling the lead moments later and LionsXII saw a handful of half-chances going to waste as the clock ran down. PKNS struggled to get their footing in the game with the presence of Wleh and Karlo Primorac doing little to improve their fortunes.
The win ended LionsXII's two-game losing streak and came just in time for their next match, a difficult trip to Perak FA on Tuesday night.