Sundram thankful that luck favoured LionsXII

The former Singapore international hailed his side's desire to qualify as they snuck a late winner against Perak FA to keep their Malaysia Cup hopes alive
Trailing by a goal deep into injury time, Asyraf Sahizah had the perfect opportunity to grab the equaliser for Perak FA as he rose to head a cross at the far post.

The substitute's effort beat LionsXII goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud as it sailed towards the far corner, but also cleared the bar narrowly as the home crowd let out a collective sigh of relief.

"My luck changed at last!" coach Sundram smiled in response during the post-match press conference, when asked what was running through his mind at that moment.

"If that was in the first three games, the ball might have gone in."

The Malaysian Super League champions also saw fortune favour them when the referee chose not to award a goal in the 79th minute, after the ball appeared to have gone over the line when Izwan's save off Paulo Rangel's header came back off the post.

"I couldn't see [whether it went in] but even if it had gone in, I would have said 'no!'," Sundram jested.

With only one point from their first three Malaysia Cup games, Sundram's charges needed victory on Saturday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium to keep their Double dream alive.

Captain Hariss Harun headed them in front in the 60th minute but Noor Hazrul's freekick thunderbolt three minutes later appeared to have denied them the win.

But up popped centreback Safuwan Baharudin, five minutes after the unawarded goal, to control a massive goalkick from Izwan in the box before deftly lobbing goalkeeper Farizal Marlias in the 84th minute for the winner.

That embodied their fighting spirit, which Sundram hailed.

"With the desire and the way the boys put in the effort, they really wanted to qualify," he said.

"They are not like a team who is down and out; the way we went about doing the job is [proof] we wanted to win this game very badly.

"They tried their best, we needed the luck on our side, and eventually we got something out of this game. We [have] put ourselves in the running for the quarter-finals now. We have two more games [and] if we can beat Sarawak, then everything will be open."

His boys are set to resume preparations on September 15, three days before the home clash against Sarawak FA, after completing international duties.

"Now that we are winning, I would love to play next week but everybody has a break, not only us, so I feel it’s quite fair," Sundram pointed out.

The former Singapore international also hailed the home crowd in a 7,016 turnout for showing up and being an "important factor" despite the LionsXII being bottom of Group D before the game.

Sundram was also glad to have the suspended Shahfiq Ghani available for their next match, adding to his other striker options on Fazrul Nawaz, Syafiq Zainal and Khairul Nizam, especially in the face of captain Shahril Ishak's absence.

"The boys needed this win to come back to confidence, and to try to push further for the next two games," he admitted, revealing that morale was down after two "unlucky" consecutive losses against Sarwak and Perak away.

With the win, the LionsXII moved off the bottom to third on four points, three behind both Sarawak and Perak, with the former on top by virtue of goal difference.