A late Messi-like goal by Irwan Shah gives the LionsXII their 6th consecutive win sending them 6 points clear at the top of the Malaysian Super LeagueIn a repeat scoreline of their previous clash, the LionsXII defeated Perak 2-1 in a lively encounter at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The Lions were forced to make three changes to their side due to injuries but came out firing and were looking for the early goal.
The first chance of the game fell to Firdaus Kasman on 5 minutes after Khairul Nizam's cut back but Firdaus fired straight at keeper Khairul Amri.
Two minutes later, Yasir Hanapi attempted an outrageous volley from the edge of the box but saw his strike hit the crossbar and go over. That chance sparked the Seladangs into life and they drove forward in numbers.
On 13 minutes, Micheal Kubala, who was at the heart of all the good moves for Perak, went close with a free-kick from 25 yards but saw his shot saved comfortably by keeper Hyrulnizam.
Safuwan Bahrudin then missed a great chance to give his side the lead when he leapt above keeper Khairul and won a header only to see his second header come off the crossbar and be cleared.
The half continued with good passages of play by both teams, but they failed to carve out clear cut chances.
The Lions took the lead from the penalty spot on 41 minutes. Khairul was brought down in the box by Syazwan Roslan for the Lions 7th penalty this season, and Shahdan Sulaiman delivered from the penalty spot buring his shot to the right of the keeper.
The second half resumed in similar fashion with both teams setting out their stall to attack.
Perak won a penalty on 50 minutes after Sevki Sha'ban's tug on Akmal Rizal. Micheal Kubala saw his attempt saved by keeper Hyrul but managed to tap home the rebound to even the score.
Coach Sundramoorthy sent on captain Shahril Ishak on 58 minutes to help unlock the stubborn Perak defence.
In a surprising switch, Perak coach Norizan Bakar substituted his goalkeeper Khairul on 68 minutes after he made a blunder from a routine catch.
As the clock wound down, both teams utilised their remaining substitutions and the game began to be stretched.
Safuwan was sent upfield to support Agu Casmir and that move proved decisive. On 87 minutes, Shakir Hamzah's punt upfield was knocked down brilliantly to Irwan Shah who kept his composure to produce an exquisite finish past the diving keeper.
That goal sent the Jalan Besar faithful into loud raptures and they sensed victory. Perak came forward in numbers but were unable to find an equaliser.
The Lions held on firmly till the final whistle and stretched their lead at the top of the table to 6 points.