The French forward struck a free-kick over LionsXII keeper Hyrulnizam in the second-half to seal his side's second consecutive win
Maximum points was what both teams were searching for. For the Lions, it meant staying on top and putting pressure to Kelantan, for PKNS, it meant they can distance themselves from the bottom three.
With captain marvel, Shahril Ishak back in the team, the Lions looked to go out in search for the three points. Still fresh from their midweek win against Perak, the visitors were favourites for this match.
But it was PKNS who started brightly, Rajesh sent a cross that almost met the head of Mickael Nicoise and Mohd Nor Hakim shot straight to Hyrulnizam in the Lions goal.
LionsXII players looked jaded, clearly still recovering from their midweek game. They couldn't conjure any credible attack and threaten PKNS goal keeper, Mohd Remezey. The closest the came was from a volley via Shahril Ishak in the 28th minute.
To add woe to their misery, Khairul Nizam had to be substituted with Pravin Guanasagaran coming on in the 29th minute because of a possible concussion.
PKNS almost scored after that with a cut-back from Mohd Nor Hakim finding Nicoise but Hyrulnizam did brilliantly to prevent him from scoring.
Lions started the second-half brightly with Shahril shooting wide after a counter-attack led by Shahdan Sulaiman who also had a quiet game.
The home side struck back through a Nicoise header that beat Hyrulnizam but Shevki Shaaban did brilliantly to clear it off the line in the 58th minute. PKNS winger, Mohd Nor Hakim continued to threaten the Lions defence with some brilliant runs and cutbacks as well.
Coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim added some fire power in the 65th minute by bringing on former national striker Mohd Nizaruddin to help Nicoise while LionsXII captain Shahril was replaced by Agu Casmir shortly after.
The goal finally came from a free-kick from Mickael Nicoise on 80 minutes. A brilliant looping ball from the flank beating Hyrulnizam. The LionsXII custodian protested vehemently for an infringement by Helmi Remeli but the goal was to stand.
Agu Casmir almost equalised few minutes later after Mohd Remezey spilled the ball but his scooped shot was sent wide with an open goal beckoning.
The game ended with a 1-0 win for PKNS who recorded their second consecutive victory while the LionsXII surrendered their unbeaten away record.
A good result and performance from Haji Abdul Rahman’s team and a poor result for V. Sundramoorthy’s boys who are gunning for the title. They will be looking to do better on Tuesday night at Jalan Besar Stadium when both teams face each other again.