KUALA LUMPUR - Sheer grit and determination. That's what landed Lions XII the FA Cup.
Coach Fandi Ahmad paid tribute to his players for defying the odds to beat overwhelming favourites Kelantan 3-1 in the 26th edition of the FA Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday night.
"We proved everyone wrong," said a cheerful Fandi at the post-match conference.
"Who thought we'd win? We are a team with no stars but, in the end, hard work, dedication and sheer grit won it for us."
The Singapore football legend said his young team had better stamina to finish the game strongly.
"Kelantan had a lot of attacking power but our backline was solid. Man-of-the-match goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud was equally good between the posts," said Fandi.
Kelantan coach Mohd Azraai Khor Abdullah admitted that they paid the price for their lack of discipline in defence.
"We lost concentration and made two costly mistakes ... that led to our defeat. We did well to get the equaliser ... and I thought things would be better. We missed a lot of chances," he said.
He was also disappointed that the Red Warriors failed to keep the trophy at home.
"Credit to the young Lions XII team. They were disciplined at the back and had their tactics spot-on!" said Azraai.