Negeri Sembilan denied three points by an impressive performance by the home sideIn a game that was dominated by the coordinated team movement, silky passes and nifty footwork of the LionsXII team, the fans shouted for goal and got just that. Not once but three times.
The first half saw the Singapore side gaining much possession, and coming close to goal many times. Surprise starter Sufian Anuar had many opportunities on goal, getting one-on-ones with Negeri Sembilan’s goalkeeper Farizal Marlias several times.
The game’s opening goal came in the 30th minute through a penalty awarded to the home side as a result of what was perceived to be a handball in the six-yard box.
Even after taking the lead, the Lions continued to remain organized, compact when defending and aggressive on attack. This paid of in the form of a beautiful second goal in the 49th minute set up by Sufian Anuar and polished off by Shahdan Sulaiman.
Although the LionsXII did well to dominate large parts of the game, Negeri Sembilan did a good job creating some real chances at goal too. Within the first quarter of the game, Shukor Adan did well to get a ball behind the home side’s backline finding Ahmad Shakir who took a clean shot at goal.
Several opportunities also presented itself in the form of free-kicks lining the six-yard box.
However, Negeri Sembilan’s deadly striking duo of Jean-Emmanuel Effa and Ahmad Shakir were not able to find each other and did not manage to break through the Lions defense with much success.
This was augmented by a very structured, composed, and collected Lions backline, that made it hard for any of their opponents attacks to hold any weight.
The third goal of the night’s fixture came in the form of a brilliant slide at the far post by Shahril Ishak to knock in a low incoming cross from the right side of the pitch.
At 3-0, however, the visitors had shown no intention of easing up on their attack.
This finally paid off as they found the back of the net in extra time, crystallising the final moments of the game with something to show for all their near misses.
The Lions were undoubtedly the stronger side and this augured well with a 7056-strong crowd that pulsated with patriotism and energy throughout the 90 exciting minutes.