MALAYSIA - Missiles were thrown, then firecrackers, but they didn't flinch.
Elbows were aimed at them along with kicks, but still V Sundramoorthy's LionsXII stood firm.
In a heroic performance, they showed both guile and gumption to beat Kedah 3-1 at Alor Star's Darul Aman Stadium last Saturday night in their final Group D fixture of the Malaysia Cup, completing an unlikely escape.
Achieving only one point in their first three group games, the LionsXII showed why they are the reigning Malaysian Super League champions, storming back to finish second in the four-team standings behind Sarawak, and will face ATM FA in the two-leg affair that is the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals.
"We were struggling at the start of the group stage, and then finally got our first away win in the competition at Alor Star which is a nightmare ground to come to," said defensive stalwart, Safuwan Baharudin.
"I really can't describe this feeling."
The central defender - who celebrates his 22nd birthday today - put in a mature showing at the heart of the LionsXII backline, even managing a foray into the opposition box, heading a ball back for Baihakki Khaizan to score the visitors' second in the 39th minute.
This was after stand-in captain Hariss Harun headed in a Hafiz Sujad cross 15 minutes earlier.
Alen Guc pulled one back for Kedah on the stroke of half-time, but the result was put beyond doubt in the 66th minute.
The superb Hafiz, deployed in midfield last night, ran at the heart of the Kedah defence before sending a rasping shot into the back of the net from 25 metres out.
"A draw would have been a fantastic result, but we've managed to win here. I knew we needed something special to get a result, and the boys really showed character," said Sundram.
"I have belief in the team, and now we have turned the corner."