FOOTBALL nomad Azlan Ismail destroyed Super League champions LionsXII, as the Singapore outfit’s misery in the Malaysia Cup took a turn for the worse when they fell 1-0 to Perak at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh last night.
It was the Lions’ second successive defeat in Group D of the competition, having lost 2-1 to Sarawak in Kuching on Saturday. They also had Shafiq Ghani red carded in that match.
With the win, Perak put themselves in a favourable position with seven points while the Lions remain entrenched at the bottom with only one point to show after three matches.
A 10th minute goal by Kelantan-born Azlan was all Perak needed for the win and three important points in their quest to advance to the second round. Another win in the remaining three matches would be enough to achieve their initial target of reaching the quarterfinals.
A long throw in by Nasir Basharuddin found Azlan in the Lions’ six-yard box and he found enough space to guide the ball into the net despite having three Lions defenders around him.
“It’s a match we needed to win very badly to tighten our grip at the top and to enhance our quarterfinal hopes,” said Perak chief coach Azraai Khor Abdullah.
“Before the start of the match I told the players not to feel sorry like in our previous matches…conceding late penalties to share points in matches which we should have won.
“I was unhappy and you too were unhappy. Let’s not let it happen again. You must remember this is Ipoh…our homeground and we have to take full advantage. We must play to the whistle.
“The magic worked and at the end of the match everyone was pleased with the outcome and the three points. The players had promised and they delivered.”
Following the defeat, V. Sundramoorthy and company remain winless at the end of the first round of fixtures, with only a solitary point to show from the 2-2 draw with Kedah at the Jalan Besar Stadium on opening day.
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