Hariss Harun came out tops against his former side on Tuesday night as he helped Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) beat the LionsXII 3-2 in a thriller, which saw the visitors having to overturn a two-goal deficit.
It was the Singapore international's first appearance in JDT colors back home at Jalan Besar Stadium and he admitted after the game that it was "special" to come away with the victory on his return.
"The fans were great, they gave good support for the home team as well," Hariss said after the game. "I got a little bit of stick, I think some of them didn’t acknowledge me, but it’s normal! I'm here as an opponent, I understand it.
"Basically I am just happy with my team, we got the job done, we got the points and we are looking forward to climbing the table."
Faris Ramli and Zulfahmi Arifin had given the hosts a 2-0 lead near the end of the first half, but Jorge Diaz reduced arrears just before the break. A contentious penalty decision then led to Luciano Figueroa's equaliser after the restart, with Diaz then sealing the comeback.
It was no surprise Hariss was pleased with the character displayed by his new team in battling back and holding on, especially having conceded a late equaliser in the 2-2 draw against Pahang FA four days earlier.
"I think we did well to come back, the goal before half-time gave us that fighting chance and belief that it was not over and that was what we did," he pointed out.
"I am glad that there’s still life and character in this JDT team because too many times this season, we have played really well, got into the lead and we just gave our lead away. One good example is the last game, so I think it’s good that we got some character today and managed to get a result and the points."
The 23-year-old, who put in a solid display and dominated the midfield, also had some words of encouragement for the LionsXII, who are languishing in eighth place currently.
"I felt a little bit for the LionsXII boys, they gave us a little bit of a shock going 2-0 up," Hariss said. "But I know these boys have got character and I am sure they will pull themselves up."
JDT's victory reduced their gap with leaders Selangor FA to five points ahead of their crucial clash this weekend with six games left, and Hariss hopes the manner of the performance can give them a boost going into it.
"We have belief that we can do it, that’s what you need in a title run-in," he said. "We've got important games coming up, another big game this weekend against Selangor so we’ve got to keep this momentum going. I think it gives us a spur and confidence to go on and perform better."