Baihakki Khaizan believes LionsXII starting to show character

The centreback admits the younger squad members will take time to adjust to the Malaysian Super League, but believes the experience will stand them in good stead for the SEA Games.
The LionsXII produced a solid comeback in the second half on Saturday evening to beat Terengganu FA 2-1 as goals from Safuwan Baharudin and Syafiq Zainal saw them overturn Jean-Emmanuel Effa Owona’s first-half header.

Despite the victory, the home side appeared shaky at times at the back - in the final minutes, Ashari Shamsudin came close to stealing a point for the visitors with a volley that went just wide, with an unmarked Owona screaming for a cut-back in front of an empty net.

Centreback Baihakki Khaizan admits that such lapses could prove costly, although he believes that the younger squad members will learn and get better as the Malaysian Super League (MSL) season progresses.

“I think this is a young team, [so] I have to accept the fact that somewhere somehow, things will not be balanced,” he said.

“Sometimes things don’t go our way, but I think what is important is the character they [have] started to show. Hopefully along the way, this MSL [experience] will lead them and guide them towards their main goal, which is the SEA Games.”

The 28-year-old pointed to coach V. Sundramoorthy’s tactical tweaks in the second half as part of the reasons why the team were able to get back into the game and secure victory eventually.

“We pulled Shahril [Ishak] back a bit [into midfield]; I think that’s the most comfortable place he has ever played. He’s the link between defence and attack [and that helped us],” Baihakki said.

“With the young boy Shahfiq Ghani coming in, I think he has this hunger to show and tonight he really showed it.”