LIONSXII through to the Quarter-Finals of the Malaysian FA Cup
SINGAPORE, 10 MARCH 2012: The LIONSXII are through to the quarter-finals of the Malaysia FA Cup after winning Malaysia Premier League side, Negeri Sembilan (NS) Betaria FC, with a comfortable score line of two-nil. The match was played at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday evening, the 10th of March 2012, in front of a 5,088 strong crowd.
The match started out with both teams stroking the ball around to get a feel of the pitch. LIONSXII started off the better of the two sides with most of the possession in the first half an hour going to them.
The home side went on the offensive right from the start with the first chance coming in as early as the third minute. A free kick swung in by Shahdan Sulaiman, was met by a header by forward, Sufian Anuar, but his attempt was just wide of the post.
Chances for both teams were few and far between, with LIONSXII dominating the centre of the pitch.
In the 39th minute, midfielder, Isa Halim, came close to breaking the deadlock. A run by Captain Shahril Ishak down the right flank, found Isa at the edge of the box, but Isa's shot was punched away by the NS Betaria FC's custodian, Faizal Yusoff.
Both teams headed into the break with the score remaining goal-less.
The second half saw no changes to either team. The home side pressed hard in search for their goal, and their efforts paid off in the 55th minute. Collecting a pass at the edge of the penalty box from Isa Halim, skipper Shahril, side-stepped a defender to create space for himself, to unleash an unstoppable shot, to make the score one-nil, in favour of the home side.
With the goal in hand, LIONSXII continued to pressure NS Betaria FC's back line. The home side eventually got their second goal in the 84th minute after some nifty play in the opponents' penalty area. Shahdan Sulaiman, providing Sufian Anuar with a deft back-heel, in which the latter cheekily flicked the ball over the on-rushing keeper, to secure their two-nil win. The comfortable win by LIONSXII sees them through to the quarter-finals of the Malaysian FA Cup.
Speaking after the match, assistant coach for NS Betaria FC, Samba mentioned, "I am happy with my team's performance today as they played according to plan. We tried to hit the home team on the counter, but these boys are young players and it is always hard for us to go against an experienced side like LIONSXII, in their own backyard."
Coach V Sundramoorthy of LIONSXII said, "It was hard for us to score against them as they constantly remained compact as a unit. Credit must be given to them for being tactically disciplined. I am happy with the win as we are through to the next round of the tournament."
LIONSXII Starting Line-up: Izwan Mahbud, Isa Halim, Madhu Mohana (Shaiful Esah 53'), Shahdan Sulaiman, Hariss Harun, Shahril Ishak (C) (Yasir Hanapi 87'), Irwan Shah, Sevki Sha'ban, Firdaus Kasman (Khairul Nizam 38'), Sufian Anuar, Shakir Hamzah
Negeri Sembilan Betaria FC Starting Line-up: Faizal Yusoff, M Ravinthiran (C), Afiq Akmal (K Sathian 84'), Azrine Affendy, Dhurai Nandhagopal, Saufi Ibrahim, Afendi Ishak (Emmanuel Junior 63'), Nasrullah Haniff, S Harivarman, Michael Ijezie, Fauzi Kadar