Pahang 2-1 LionsXII: Lions outclassed by home side
Backed by a vocal home support, Pahang registered a priceless victory in the first leg of the Malaysia Cup quarterfinals
by Khalis Rifhan
Pahang got off to a dream start as they scored in barely ten minutes into the game. A quick counter-attack for the home side saw Azamuddin’s shot hit the upright before Fauzi Roslan followed up on the loose ball to give the home side the lead, despite Izwan Mahbud getting a hand to the ball.
LionsXII looked nervy especially in the middle of the field as they were unable to contain the composed Russian Boris Kochkin and the speedy Gopinathan down the flank.
Gopi was a constant threat to the visitors as he easily wriggled his way past the LionsXII defence and got the crowd on their feet each time he dazzled down the flank.
LionsXII could have taken the lead a minute earlier but captain Shahril Ishak scuffed his shot inside the six-yard box, much to the disbelief of his teammates.
The home side were arguably the better of the two for most of the half as LionsXII were having trouble finding their way past the tight Pahang midfield.
Lady Luck soon descended for the visitors as they got the equaliser in an unorthodox manner.
Izwan sent a long hopeful ball from his own area and Pahang skipper Jallaludin Abu Jaafar attempted to head the ball back to his goalkeeper, Wan Azraie.
Unfortunately for Jalludin, he was unaware that the custodian was off his line and could only watch as the ball trickled into the back of the net to make the score one apiece.
Pahang could have taken the lead midway through the half as Gopi once again prove to be a danger man for LionsXII, sending in a curler into the box but goalscorer Fauzi saw his header swerve away from goal.
The second half saw LionsXII coming under a barrage of attacks as Gopi, Kochkin, and substitute Faizol Hussain combined well keeping Izwan busy in goal.
Pahang finally got their deserved second goal after the entire LionsXII defence was caught napping as they allowed Hafiz Kamal's looping cross from the right to sail into the back of the net.
The match eventually ended with Pahang squandering a couple more chances to extend the lead for a safer second leg, and LionsXII failing to register even one shot on goal.
However, all is not lost for LionsXII, as both sides will meet again for the second leg on October 5.
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