Football: Hafiz scores in midfield

Football: Hafiz scores in midfield

MALAYSIA - He had one of the longest streaks going without a goal in the team.

More than 1,500 minutes of game time had elapsed and he still had not broken his duck.

Many of his teammates, including most of the defenders, had already opened their accounts for the LionsXII, but not Hafiz Abu Sujad.

He said it didn't really matter to him as his priority had always been his defensive duties.

The way the left back celebrated when he finally broke his duck with the stunning third goal in the 3-1 Malaysia Cup win over Kedah at the Darul Aman Stadium last Saturday suggested Hafiz was actually bothered by the statistic.

Speaking to The New Paper on Monday, the 22-year-old admitted with a sheepish smile: "Which footballer doesn't want to score? I see myself as a defensive player, but I also like to take shots."

The win ensured the LionsXII booked a quarter-final date with ATM FA.

V Sundramoorthy deployed Hafiz in central midfield against Kedah, and the youngster was outstanding, keeping his opposite number Nelson San Martin relatively quiet while putting in an admirable box-to-box shift.

It throws up the question whether the coach will stick with Hafiz in the engine room for the first leg of the quarter-final on Saturday at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Sundram was full of praise for Hafiz's performance, although he hinted fit-again skipper Shahril Ishak will return and shoulder much of the attacking responsibility.

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