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Lions XII Turned Giant Turtles Over In MSL

  Two goals from Safuwan Baharudin and substitute Syafiq Zainal respectively in the second half, were sufficient to see Lions XII cancelled out Terengganu’s one goal lead and secured their third victory in the Malaysian Super

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Two goals from Safuwan Baharudin and substitute Syafiq Zainal respectively in the second half, were sufficient to see Lions XII cancelled out Terengganu’s one goal lead and secured their third victory in the Malaysian Super League (MSL) this evening at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Although captain Shahril Ishak went face to face with Terengganu’s centreback, strong and huge Vincent Bikana (no-15), his strong holding off the opponent and his intelligence allowed him to string some crucial passes in the attacking third half. However, Terengganu had the first laugh as their number-10, Jean-Emmanuel Effa Owona outjumped Baihakki Khaizan (no-5) to finally score his first goal against the Singapore side in the 32nd minute. Half time whistle blown, the Giant turtles went into the break with an important one goal lead.

In order to salvage the situation, Lions XII’s head coach, V Sundramoorthy made two changes to beef up the midfield. The change and adjustment to the formation worked! One of the Lions XII set-pieces’ key personnels, Safuwan Baharudin (no-21) swept in the second ball where his first header on target was blocked by the defender in the 64th minute. Game on and confidence grew. 10 minutes later, substitute Syafiq Zainal (no-30) connected well with a cross from Shahfiq Ghani (no-26) and headed Lions XII to its third deserved victory in MSL!

So what’s impressive and caught our attention? We saw the introduction of Gabriel Quak (no-7) as one of the changes for the second half. And we have to say, this lively Chinese winger was a constant threat with his crosses. He was supposed to be part of the pioneer team last season but the talented player was lost to the military service. To be away for a long time and back with such impressive performance, it really speaks volume of a player. What makes this a great deal is how often do you actually see a Chinese player coming up and playing on such a platform? Hopefully he can continue to improve and certainly we would love to see more of him in action this season!

Another thing which captured out attention was an appreciation gesture shown by the Terengganu team prior to the kick-off. Once both teams had lined up, shook hands and dismissed from the VIP front, the first eleven players of Terengganu’s actually walked over to their 80-odd supporters from to acknowledge them. This simple gesture was extremely appreciative and worth mentioning.

In all fairness, some of the decisions made by the referee were not exactly in the Malaysian team’s favor. Indeed, Terengganu had a decent game and challenged Lions XII to the very last minute. Great game this evening and we hope to catch more of Lions XII’s games this season!

Photo: Lions XII FB

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