In this series of articles, Goal.com Singapore reviews the performances of the LionsXII team thus far in their debut season in the Malaysia Super LeagueCOMMENT
By Ng Jun Xian, Owen Tan & Sugumaran Devaraja | Goal.com Singapore
The LionsXII may be sitting on the top of the table now in the Malaysia Super League (MSL), but it is easy to forget that the team was only formed in December 2011 as a result of a four year memorandum between the two football associations of Malaysia and Singapore.
After a 17-year absence, Singapore returned to the MSL in 2012 with the newly formed LionsXll. The new team started slowly, however, with only eight points gained out of a possible 18 from their first six matches.
The tide changed after a 3-1 win against Negeri Sembilan, and the team has been able to keep their good vein of form and lead second-placed Kelantan by five points - albeit having played three games more.
In this first installment of Goal.com’s LionsXII mid-season review, we take a look at the goalkeepers and their performances over the season thus far.
|The LionsXII Goalkeepers
|Also known as... The one for the future
Izwan first shot to stardom when he appeared for the Singapore national team in the World Cup qualifiers last year, as he impressed the nation with some stunning saves and steady performances.
The 21-year-old was then signed by LionsXll and started the campaign as the first-choice keeper. Despite measuring only 1.79m, Izwan held his backline well and went on to make more than a few world-class saves and man of the match performances, which contributed to the Lions’ climb to the top of the table.
Although an injury kept him out since March, the custodian is touted to return soon to the team, which would definitely be great news as they continue their title charge in the Malaysia Super League.
|Also known as... Mr Safe-hands
More widely known as ‘Ah Lau’, Hyrulnizam was the second choice for the Lions at the start of the campaign, but an injury to Izwan gave him a chance and since then, he has not looked back.
His heroic performance against Sarawak in Kuching was just the beginning as he continued his form with a series of top-class performances. He was a key factor to the Lions’ 10-match unbeaten run, which ended only this month after a defeat to PKNS.
Just like his idol, David Seaman, the twenty-five years old custodian is looking as strong and as reliable now and his experience with SAFFC of Singapore previously also gave him a mental edge above Izwan, so bank on him to be the first-choice keeper for the Lions for now.
Stay tuned for the second part of the series featuring the fullbacks.