LionsXII cool under pressure

LionsXII cool under pressure
LionsXII Fazrul Nawaz (centre) pays tribute to the late Adrian Dhanaraj after scoring the winner for his team in the Malaysia Cup match against Sarawak held at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 19 September 2013. LionsXII beat Sarawal 1-0.

Post-Match, LionsXII coach V Sundramoorthy stepped into the press conference room to warm applause after the slim victory over Sarawak.

Outside, some of the 6,834 fans lingered in the stands or near the mixed zone, celebrating and congratulating the players for protecting Fortress Jalan Besar and recording yet another win - their 12th in 14 home games this season.

The reception was similar to the scenes after the Singaporean side beat Felda United 4-0 to win the Malaysian Super League in July.

With one big exception: the LionsXII have won nothing in the Malaysia Cup yet. They may have surged from bottom to second in Group D with three vital points, but if they don't go on and get at least a draw at Kedah on Saturday (see equation), last night's victory will be their last home game in front of their adoring fans.

Said Sundram, who obviously is aware of the task ahead: "The job is not done yet. "What we have done is to keep our excellent home record going, and keep ourselves in contention to make it to the quarter-finals.

"Like I told you before the match, tonight's game could be the start to our Malaysia Cup journey after a bad opening to this campaign."

Indeed, there were some positives to suggest that the LionsXII can progress to the knock-out stages. For perhaps the first time in this Malaysia Cup, Baihakki Khaizan and Safuwan Baharudin showed why they are regarded as South-east Asia's best centre-back pairing with an assured performance at the back to collect their first clean sheet in six games.

Baihakki and Shakir Hamzah, both on two yellow cards, were also disciplined enough to prevent a third that would rule them out of the Kedah game.

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