Warriors edge seven-goal affair to pick up much needed first win of the season against a gutsy Courts Young Lions team
The game started slowly with both teams setting out their stall not to concede early. The first chance of the game fell to Lions forward Jonathan Toto in the 15th minute, but he fluffed his finish from 5 yards after great work on the wing by Sherif El-Masri.
That kicked the Warriors into action and within 5 minutes, Fazrul Nawaz headed over the bar from a Nor Rahman cross. SAFFC was not be denied any longer.
In the next attack, Fazrul found space to thread the ball through to Mislav Karoglan and the forward made no mistake with the finish, to give the host the advantage.
In the 29th minute, SAFFC extended their lead. Tatsuro Inui swung in a free kick from the left wing and Seiji Saito powered a header goal wards that was parried by keeper Neezam Aziz. Saito was quick to pounce on the rebound and he steered it home for a 2-0 lead.
Fazrul Nawaz was causing the visiting defence all sorts of problems by closing them down quickly. In the 32nd minute, the ball fell invitingly to Shimpei Sakurada, after poor passing in the Lions defence, and he rode two challenges and blasted the ball home from just inside the box.
Coach Robin Chitrakar brought on Sheikh Abdul Hadi for defender Tajeli bin Selamat who was having a torrid evening, to help shore up the defence.
Toto was proving a handful for the SAFFC defence with his physical presence and in the 42nd minute he pulled a goal back. Toto flicked on a hopefully long ball upfield to Benjamin Kristoffersen Lee and managed to bundle the return home, despite clashing into keeper Aziz.
The half ended with the Warriors on top but the match was far from over.
The Lions returned from the break fired up and hungry for goals. They had plenty of possession but found it difficult to penetrate the stubborn Warriors defence.
In the 56th minute Karoglan and Fazrul combined brilliantly for an exquisite goal. A lofted pass from Zulfadli Zainal Abidin was expertly brought down by Karoglan and he clipped the ball across goal, past keeper Aziz for Fazrul to head into an empty net, sending the home fans into raptures.
The Warrriors seemed to become complacent and take the foot of the pedal. The Lions continued to press and were rewarded in the 73rd minute when Toto danced past 2 players and found the top corner.
The Lions seemed revitalized by the goal and were swift on the counter. In the 79th minute, Togo found Sherif with a long ball and he centered the ball to Benjamin who made no mistake slotting calmly under the diving keeper.
SAFFC were beginning to tire having to defend with their lives and both sides made substitutions to keep the team fresh.
The Lions continued to fight bravely looking for an equalizer, but the Warriors retained possession smartly and were relived when the final whistle blew. It was simply too little too late for the Lions.