|JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Kenneth Tan
It was not the best build-up to the first LionsXII home game of the season – the skies opened up two hours before kick-off, resulting in a waterlogged pitch which threatened a possible postponement of the match.
Fortunately for the fans and players alike, weather conditions improved nearer to kickoff and the LionsXII proceeded to clinch their second win of the season, maintaining their perfect start to the 2013 Malaysian Super League (MSL) campaign.
The official attendance stood at 7,012 and captain Shahril Ishak was keen to dedicate this win to the fans who turned up at the stadium.
“The boys knew we had to win this for the fans,” he told Goal.com Singapore after the match.
“They sacrificed their weekend to watch us, and it was even raining today so I was very surprised that they turned up.”
It was not a classic performance but the ultimate objective was achieved, to the delight of the 28-year-old.
“One thing about today [was that] we didn’t keep possession,” he admitted.
“But we were very disciplined in our formation, Hafiz [Sujad] also did well in the middle along with Isa [Halim] to close down the opponents and keep the midfield compact.”
The attacking midfielder was also happy to see his strike partner Fazrul Nawaz open his LionsXII account with a header that proved to be the match-winning goal.
“I’m happy to see him score,” he shared.
“He’s very hardworking and gave his socks out for the team. I created some chances for him today which he didn’t put away, but I’m happy that he did put that opportunity away.
"It’s just like how I tried to create chances for [former Lions XII teammate] Khairul Amri to score.”
Despite the good start to the Lions XII campaign, Shahril hinted that things will get even better when the season gets into full swing.
“We’re still not at our best, because it’s only one week into the season," he said.
"We need more time to gel and we still have players like Hariss [Harun] and [Khairul] Nizam who are capable of playing in the first eleven [when they recover from injury].
The LionsXII’s next MSL assignment will see them take on Selangor PKNS at the Shah Alam Stadium on Tuesday night.