Irwan Shah (left) celebrates his goal with Shahril Ishak. (Photo 1 © FAS. Used with permission.)
Jalan Besar Stadium, Tuesday, April 10, 2012 — Irwan Shah scored a late winner to give the Singapore LionsXII a 2-1 win over Perak FA in the Malaysian Super League (MSL).
It was the LionsXII’s fourth win in a row, and their eighth win in their last nine games. The LionsXII have not lost in 10 games since going down 0-1 to Terengganu at home on January 28th.
The win in front of 6,408 fans, the lowest attendance this season, gives the LIONSXII a six-point lead over Kelantan who have played three games less.
The LionsXII hit the crossbar and were denied by the Perak goalkeeper before they got their opening goal in the 42nd minute. Khairul Nizam was brought down and Shahdan Sulaiman stepped up in the absence of Shahril Ishak to score from the spot for his second penalty in a row.
Perak came back within five minutes of the restart to score the equaliser. Sevki Sha’ban brought down their forward in the penalty box and although LIONSXII goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma’at saved the initial shot, he could not stop Perak’s Michal Kubala from scoring from the rebound.
The LionsXII were finally rewarded for their efforts in the 89th minute when Safuwan Baharudin’s header found Irwan Shah on the far left corner. Irwan’s quick thinking saw him go past the Perak’s goalkeeper for a simple tap in to secure the win.
A visibly upset Norizan Bakar, the Perak FA head coach said: “The players did well but lapse of concentration in the both halves cost us the match. I think we need to accept the result tonight and move on to next game we have in the league.”
Speaking at the post-match press conference, LionsXII head coach V.Sundramoorthy said: “I saw the ‘never-say-die’ attitude from the players today as they kept pushing on despite conceding the penalty and with a bit of luck, we saw Irwan get the better of the bounce and give us the win.
“Some of the players did look tired after playing back-to back games but they never gave up and I give them credit for doing so. There is a sense of unity in the team and the players believe in themselves and in one another too.”
LionsXII 2 Perak 1
LionsXII — Shahdan Sulaiman (42′, pen), Irwan Shah (89′)
Perak — Michal Kubala (50′)
LionsXII Starting Lineup
Hyrulnizam Juma’at, Shaiful Esah, Shahdan Sulaiman, Hariss Harun (C), Irwan Shah, Khairul Nizam (Agu Casmir 67′), Safuwan Baharudin, Sevki Sha’ban, Firdaus Kasman (Isa Halim 67′) , Shakir Hamzah, Yasir Hanapi (Shahril Ishak 58′)