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Suzuki Cup '12: Lions crash party in opener

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Kuala Lumpur, 26 November 2012 - Some may say we were definitely going to be at the bottom of Group B before the match even started. But in a turn of events, the Lions delivered a classy 3-0 performance against historic rivals and defending Suzuki Cup champions Malaysia last night at the Bukit Jalil Stadium to send fans back in Singapore into delirium.
At the other end of the causeway, the defeat spelt chaos for die hard Harimau Fans that were enraged by the home team’s performance, so much so that some Ultras even called for the head of national team coach Rajagobal rather prematurely. Afterall, there are still 2 games left to play for Malaysia to salvage some lost pride.
But the night belonged to the boys in red. And luckily for our boys, lady luck was certainly smiling on them last night as they battled it out on an extremely wet pitch that caused many players on both sides to make mistakes. It was tough and tiring but as the Lions skipper and team captain Sharil Ishak made a head way for the team at the 31st minute, hope dawned. For the 1,000 Singaporean fans that were there, the opening goal was ecstatic.
Following that, the skipper was at it again when he extended the lead on 37 minutes, capitalising on an uncharacteristic error made by Khairul Fahmi that put some clear daylight between the Lions and Malaysia as a stunned partisan home crowd looked on in horror.
Singapore’s coach, Raddy Avramovic was surprised at the win, though he felt that the win was well deserved.  “It was nice to get a good result like that in our opening game but now we must prepare for our game against Indonesia.”
However, Malaysia coach K. Rajagobal said “I didn’t expect that scoreline. I thought that we began positively but gave away a pair of sloppy goals.”
“We have to do it the hard way again and we have no choice but to win our next two games.
The Malaysians had several free-kicks in the Singapore half during the first 20 minutes of the game but Aidil Zafuan Radzak and Safiq Rahim failed to really trouble Izwan’s goal with their efforts.
Just as Khairul Fahmi was going to deny a third goal by Shahdan, the winger crossed the ball to unmarked substitute Aleksandar Duric. And for Singapore, the evergreen 42-year-old Duric was the unexpected one that nicely nodded the third goal into the back of the net and seal victory on an unforgettable night.
The win for the Lions sent them two points clear of Indonesia and Laos at the top of Group B, with both sides drawing 2-2 in their earlier encounter.
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