Captain Shahril Ishak celebrates his first of two goals with his teammates ( photo from LionsXII Facebook).
Singapore, 3 October 2012 - Lions XII bounced back from their 2-1 first leg defeat in Kuantan last week to register a 2-0 win last evening, courtesy of an inspired performance from team captain Shahril Ishak who struck once in each half to send his team into the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup.
Excitement filled the stands early on as the 7,000 strong crowd piled into Jalan Besar Stadium, colouring the stadium with their red and white scarves and greeting each Lions XII player’s name with loud cheers as they were announced just minutes before kick-off.
After surviving a couple of early scares Lions XII went into the ascendancy and were justly rewarded when skipper Shahril leapt highest to nod the ball into the back of the net for the match opener. Following a difficult battle against Pahang’s midfielders, Shahril Ishak really brought it home in the second half.
Together with the help of his vice-captain Hariss Harun and Isa Halim, Shahril combined well with Shaiful Esah and each of the players played out their roles to perfection to provide the platform for the team to have confidence and play an entertaining match.
Lions XII missed a host of chances to kill off the match early on in the second period but captain Shahril was at it again as he evaded the Pahang defence 7 minutes from the end to seal the match with his second headed goal of the night.
Shahril speaks to the media following LionsXII 2-0 defeat of Pahang. (photo by John Yeong/SSC)
Sundram: Shahril a big game player
In his post-match conference, Lions XII coach V. Sundramoorthy singled out his captain for special praise, saying “Shahril is a big-match player. The bigger the crowd, the bigger the game, the bigger his performance.”
The skipper in turn was quick to credit the crowd for his performance, giving thanks to the fans saying, “We have to thank the fans for this, they were the twelfth man. I really didn’t expect them to be like this. This time around, the win was for them.”
Pahang FA coach Dollah Salleh agreed that Lions XII deserved to win the second leg, saying that the fans did a great job in cheering the Lions XII on and intimidating his players, who were lacking in experience.
The LionsXII faced ATM (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia FA) in the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup first leg on Friday, 5th Ocotober 2012 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.