The Singapore international grabbed two timely goals to seal an emphatic win for the LionsXII against a listless Sarawak side
On the back of two consecutive dismal draws in the Malaysian Super League, LionsXII bounced back with a convincing win in front of home fans to remain at the top of the Malaysian Super League table.
Both teams were without their leading forwards for the match, LionsXII were missing their injured captain Shahril Ishak while Sarawak was without promising youngster Ashri Chuchu.
However Shahril’s predatory instincts were barely missed as a much changed LionsXII settled early in the game and took the lead on seven minutes, thanks to Safuwan Baharuddin.
A Shaiful Esah throw-in down the right flank caused confusion in the Sarawak defence as the ball bobbled around the penalty area, only for Safuwan to capitalize and he made it 1-0 to LionsXII with a looping header.
LionsXII continued to boss the game with wave after wave of flowing attacking moves, leaving Hyrulnizam a mere spectator as Sarawak hardly had a touch of the ball.
Agu Casmir on his return to the first team was lively throughout, and eventually made it 2-0 to LionsXII on 35 minutes.
The Singapore international calmly stroked the ball into the net for his fourth goal of the campaign, after picking up a rebound from a save by Sarawak custodian Saiful Amar. Clearly a fan favourite, Agu celebrated with a trademark backflip, much to the delight of the partisan crowd.
The second half was no different as it was one-way traffic in favour of LionsXII.
Sarawak tried to find their way back through the combination of winger Azizan Saperi and striker Khairul Azahar. However both players wasted decent freekick opportunities to peg back.
As Sarawak faltered away, it quickly became 3-0 to LionsXII just past the hour mark.
Agu Casmir was played in on goal by a cheeky flick-on from Shahdan Sulaiman, and though his first shot was pushed away by keeper Saiful, Agu made no mistake with the rebound to score his second of the night.
That proved to be the striker’s last contribution as he left the pitch to a standing ovation and was replaced by Khairul Nizam.
Nizam was obviously keen to make a case to be reinstated in the first XI and had several gilt-edged chances to make it 4-0, but he was denied by the heroics of Saiful Amar.
Saiful continued to be his team’s savior as his saves kept the scoreline at a decent margin, ensuring Sarawak did not go home with an embarrassing loss hanging over their heads while the LionsXII extended their lead at the top of the MSL table.