Terengganu FA 4 LionsXII 2: Away woes continue for visitors
A brace from Issey Nakajima-Farran as well as goals from Helmi Remeli and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha saw the Turtles claim their fourth straight win in the Malaysian Super League (MSL), rendering strikes from Madhu Mohana and Hafiz Abu Sujad mere consolations.
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The result meant the LionsXII have collected just six points from nine away games so far this season.
The 2013 MSL champions got off to the worst possible start, conceding inside the first seven minutes.
Goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud could only parry Gustavo Lopez’s 25-yard freekick into the path of Helmi, who had the easy task of thumping home from three yards.
The visitors managed to equalise in the 25th minute when centre-back Madhu rose highest to nod home Hafiz’s inviting inswinging corner.
However, Terengganu retook the lead a minute later as Nakajima-Farran punished a lax LionsXII defence to prod home Ashari Samsudin’s hopeful pass.
LionsXII enjoyed a series of corners thereafter, but were unable to restore parity as Safuwan Baharudin’s header was hacked off the line by Terengganu captain Nordin Alias.
Going into the break 2-1 down, LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad reacted by bringing on Faritz Hameed and Khairul Nizam for the ineffectual duo of Syafiq Zainal and Sufian Anuar.
But it was the home side which went 3-1 up seven minutes after the restart.
An intelligent ball over the top by Ismail Faruqi caught out the LionsXII backline, with the in-form Nakajima-Farran firing home a first-time finish through Izwan’s legs.
Fandi Ahmad’s side managed to pull one goal back in the 55th minute via a Hafiz piledriver inside the box, but the Turtles restored their two-goal lead just two minutes later.
A hesitant Faritz dwelled on a Lopez lobbed pass inside his own six-yard area, allowing Norshahrul to steal in and volley into the bottom right corner past a stranded Izwan.
FA Cup final hero Sahil Suhaimi was thrown into the fray for the final 20 minutes, but there was little he could do to turn his side’s fortunes around.
The LionsXII have now suffered their fifth defeat of the season and drop three places to seventh in the 12-team table.
Despite the loss, they remain just a point behind third-placed Perak FA, who suffered a shock 3-2 defeat at the hands of PDRM FA.
The Singaporeans will look to bounce back when they host league leaders Pahang FA at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
Photo: Football Association of Singapore