Afiq Yunos' strike in the 92nd minute of the match ended the LionsXII's two-hear hoodoo against ATM FA, pleasing the former Singapore internationalLionsXII finally overcame ATM FA on their own turf at the third time of asking on Saturday night, as Fandi Ahmad's team emerged 2-1 winners following a late injury time winner from centre-back Afiq Yunos.
"Today was our lucky day, it was third time lucky for us!" proclaimed Fandi in his post-match interview, referring to the LionsXII's consecutive losses to ATM in the last two seasons.
But the LionsXII coach admitted that the win was by design and that he had urged his team on to grab all three points.
"I said [to them at the half-time break] you got nothing to lose, we lost here twice in the two seasons," he added.
"The last five minutes I told them to just push up and try to get the winner. We wanted to bring Safuwan (Safuwan Baharudin) up, but we changed our minds when we scored and it became 1-1. But we had Faris (Faris Ramli) who 'razzled dazzled' around the right side. He made a difference in the second-half."
The Singapore side were left fearing their worst when Amirizwan Tajuddin headed the home side ahead after just four minutes on the clock. A poorly defended corner-kick allowed the Malaysian international to nod the ball home, with Izwan Mahbud in goal also being slightly culpable for not reacting in time.
Fandi noted that the defensive lapses in set-pieces was turning into a problem for Singapore sides, as he cited similar situations with the national team.
"I thought we did quite well in the second-half," said the former Singapore international.
"It was a shocker in the first few minutes everybody just stood still with the header. We've been working on it (defending set-pieces) a lot. Even in the national team games the same thing happened. I think it's a loss of concentration and they tend to stick to zonal marking. But at times when you have big guys, you need to pick them out. So second-half I asked them to switch to man-to-man and it worked out much better for us."
The victory ended LionsXII's three-match winless streak and propelled them to fifth in the table, two points behind leaders Terengganu FA who overcame Pahang FA 2-0 on Saturday night at Stadium Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah, Kuala Terengganu.
LionsXII next go into action on March 8 in a home fixture against Kelantan FA.