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Super League

  • June 19, 2012
  • • 20:45
  • • Stadium Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah, Kuala Terengganu

Terengganu 0-1 LionsXII : Super-sub Safirul Sulaiman inspires last minute winner

Terengganu 0-1 LionsXII : Super-sub Safirul Sulaiman inspires last minute winner

Zeng Liwei

Just as both teams looked satisfied with a point, Safirul Sulaiman came on the pitch to take home the points. The young winger set up Sufian Anuar's winner in the 93rd min.

Faced with sturdier opponents this time, the LionsXII looked lively, as they sought to secure a top two finish in the Malaysia Super League.

The first half was rather cagey, with both sides having equal possession, and were only able to create half chances.

Terengganu's Abdul Manaf was the first to get a proper shot. Ten minutes into the game, the striker showed quick feet to make space for himself, before driving the ball from outside the box, only to see it fizz past the post.

The Lions looked to get back through Hariss Harun. Emboldened by his first senior hat trick, the captain led the attack by example, venturing forward more often. Twice his surging runs from midfield broke through the Terengganu rearguard, but his team was unable to capitalise.

Credit must be given to the Terengannu defense, who worked well as a unit to squeeze off the space for the Singaporean forwards to work in. Their rigid line also worked wonders, often catching the Lions offside.

Agu Casmir looked to replicate his stunning form of late, working the channels and looking to bring the midfield into play. His sprints down the sides began to take a toll on his legs, his hamstring problem flared up after the half hour mark.

Not willing to risk aggravating the injury, Sufian Anuar was sent on in his place, himself also recently returning from a groin strain.

The second half, littered with many fouls, saw the same stop-start progression, and neither side was able to carve out a clear scoring opportunity.

Terengganu looked to try their luck from distance, but woeful shooting meant that Izwan Mahbud had little to worry about.

The LionsXII keeper was quick to react though, coming off his line to sweep the ball off Abdul Manaf's feet.

Frustration began to show on both sides, with both Baihakki Khaizan and Shukor Jusoh  being booked. The partisan crowd, displeased with Jusoh's caution, began to pelt the linesman with bottles, which led to the referee calling for a short stoppage.

Ten minutes from time, the LionsXII looked to step up a gear, and looked to make headway by going down the wings. Both Yasir Hanapi and Irwan Shah missed attempts on goal, with the latter losing sight of the ball when faced with an empty net.

Looking happy with a draw, which would have been a just reward, considering the efforts of both teams, Safirul Sulaiman was sent on for Yasir Hanapi during injury time.

The young winger made an immediate impact, driving down the byline and forcing a weary Terengganu defense to concede a corner.

Not willing to give them time to regroup, the corner was taken quickly, and Safirul ran at them with purpose, skinning three players before laying off to Sufian Anuar, who worked his way past two more players to place a shot beyond the hapless Terengganu keeper.

The hard fought three points will please Lions Coach V Sundramoorthy, as it puts his team in good stead for second place.