Lions XII bring back FA Cup

Lions XII bring back FA Cup
Lions XII goalkeeper/skipper Mohd Izwan Mahbud lifts the FA Cup after his side beat Kelantan 3-1 in the final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday night.

BUKIT JALIL - The FA Cup will leave the country for the first time in 26 years.

Invitational side Lions XII beat overwhelming favourites Kelantan 3-1 in the FA Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday night.

Supersub Mohd Sahil Suhaimi was the hero for the visitors, scoring a brace late in the piece to end Singapore's 21-year wait for a trophy in the M-League.

Singapore won the Malaysia Cup in 1994 before leaving to start its own league. Singapore rejoined Malaysian football in 2012.

The nippy Sahil scored in the 82nd minute and then converted a penalty deep into stoppage time to take the FA Cup across the causeway.

The Lions had earlier taken the lead through winger Faris Ramli in the seventh minute. The Red Warriors got back into the game with Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor's 62nd-minute equaliser.

The opening goal came thanks to midfielder Mohd Izzdin Shafiq's defence-splitting pass. The lurking Faris latched onto it before beating Kelantan rightback Nik Shahrul Azim and rounding off goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.

The goal sprung Kelantan into life and they began to dominate proceedings, with right winger Wan Zack working in tandem with Colombian striker Erwin Carillo and Brazilian Gilmar Filho.

But poor finishing let them down.

The trio muffed at least six sitters, but credit should be given to Lions XII goalkeeper-cum-skipper Mohd Izwan Mahbud, who had an outstanding game.

The Red Warriors kept pressing but the Lions' backline, marshalled by centrebacks Madhu Mohana and Zulfahmi Ariffin, held firm.

The east coast giants continued from where they left after the break with their high-pressing game. The Lions' defence finally crumbled after a piece of brilliant play by Filho that led to Wan Zack scoring in the 62nd minute.

Filho chested the ball off a cross by skipper Mohd Badhri Radzi before lobbing it over the Singapore defence. Wan Zack ran behind a Singapore defender to slot it past the onrushing Izwan.

Kelantan coach Mohd Azraai Khor Abdullah then took out defensive midfielder Norhafiz Zamani Misbah for attacker Mohd Norfarhan Mohd and changed to a more offensive 4-3-3 formation in search of the winner.

He also brought on Austin Amutu for the fast-tiring Wan Zack in the last 20 minutes to add bite to the attack.

But the move backfired as it left the team imbalanced, enabling the Lions to get their second goal through Sahil in the 82nd minute.

The nippy winger raced from the halfway line off a bad back pass and skipped past the Kelantan defenders to put the Lions back in front.

Sahil then put the game beyond Kelantan's reach deep into stoppage time when he coolly slotted in the spot kick after being fouled by Kelantan's Mohd Amiridzwan Taj.

 

Congrats to the LionsXII on our convincing 3-1 victory over Kelantan! A big thank you to the team and supporters for...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, 23 May 2015
 

23 May 2015 LionsXII 3-1 Kelantan FA

Posted by LionsXII on Saturday, 23 May 2015

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