Safuwan shows the way again

Safuwan shows the way again

On and off the field, LionsXII stand-in skipper Safuwan Baharudin just cannot stop scoring.

Last night, the 22-year-old defender glanced in Shahfiq Ghani's free-kick in the 52nd minute to give his side the lead against Sime Darby FC in front of 750 fans at the Selayang Stadium.

It was his third goal in as many matches and Safuwan celebrated by grabbing the match ball and tucking it under his jersey, sparking speculation that his wife Alia Qistina, 22, could be pregnant.

He could hardly stop grinning when asked to confirm the good news, but politely declined comment.

However, Safuwan was happy to praise his team, who came up with the "perfect response" by bagging three away points after the disappointing 1-1 draw at home against T-Team last week.

"For sure, I'm happy with my scoring form," said Safuwan.

"It's great to have that scoring feeling and then actually putting the ball in the net.

"This is our biggest win this season, and we fully deserved it with great performances in attack, midfield and defence."

Goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud was unbeatable between the posts, midfielder Raihan Rahman put in tackle after tackle in midfield and Khairul Amri ran his socks off chasing lost causes and was rewarded with a coolly-taken 62nd-minute goal.

But Safuwan was everywhere - from last-ditch tackles to foil Sime Darby striker Mahmoud Amnah to shoring up the midfield.

Crucially, he popped up at the business end of the pitch to grab another goal.

So, will LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad deploy Safuwan as a striker this Saturday when the "Giant Killers" visit Jalan Besar?

"He did superbly tonight and I'm sure he will do well wherever we play him," said Fandi.

"But I think we'll need him more in defence."

Safuwan is happy to share the goalscoring burden and is relieved he was not alone in the goals.

He said: "It's exhausting if I have to defend and attack.

"For now, my priority is to defend and then get forward during set-pieces.

"It is not ideal if only defenders score, but Amri also got a goal tonight so that's good. And I'm confident the other players will start scoring soon."

This article was published on April 6 in The New Paper.

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