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The former Singapore international hailed skipper Shahril Ishak, after the midfielder's brace in a 2-0 win sent the LionsXII through to the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup.

     By Khalis Rifhan


The LionsXII defied all odds to claw back from a goal down from the first leg to win their quarter-final against Pahang FA at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday night, as they advanced 3-2 on aggregate.

Captain Shahril Ishak in each half to keep their Malaysia Cup dreams alive, and was duly given special mention by coach V. Sundramoorthy.

“Shahril is a big match player; he can deliver and he was the only one that is very composed. [He was] holding onto the ball, beating two to three players, getting into attacking zones and creating troubles for the opponent,” said an impressed Sundram.

Despite the win, the scoreline was not a true reflection of the game in the opening stages and Sundram acknowledged that his team was fortunate to come out unscathed from it.

“In the first half, especially in the first 15 minutes, Pahang had at least two or three clear chances to take the lead. We were quite lucky to escape the scarem and slowly we got back into the game,” he admitted.

“That was the turning point, as Pahang did not take their chances and the LionsXII grew better and better as the game went on to snatch [the] goals from Shahril Ishak.”

However, Hariss Harun and Agu Casmir also failed to convert from six and three yards out respectively in the second half when presented with good opportunities, which could have killed the tie off much earlier.

That did not bode well with Sundram, as he made known his feeling regarding the incident: “This time, I can’t say that we were unlucky; there were two open goal chances and I think the players must take responsibility and put the ball into the back of the net. There are no excuses for that.

“They must focus and concentrate. If they had done that early, I think the game could have been sealed and put beyond Pahang’s reach [earlier].”

Despite not getting his name on the score-sheet, Agu looks set to start the next game as Sundram was satisfied with his overall performance.

“For me it was Agu Casmir's best game. He scored many games before but today, he wanted to just go out there and prove me wrong. And he did it, I am happy for him and he will start the next game,” explained Sundram.

The LionsXII will next host Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) in the first leg of the Malaysia Cup semi-final at the Jalan Besar Stadium this coming Friday.