Malaysian Super League champions LionsXII have a mountain to climb to keep their hopes of advancing from the Malaysia Cup group stages after going down 1-0 to Perak in Ipoh on Wednesday.
With the result, V.Sundramoorthy’s side remained winless in Group D after three matches after they were held to a draw by Kedah in the opening day before failing to grab any points against Sarawak in the second match.
LionsXII is now rooted to the bottom of the table with one point and needed to secure maximum points in their remaining three matches if they are to maneuver themselves out of this predicament and prolong their stay in the competition.
Despite having the bulk of possession, LionsXII were finding it hard to penetrate through the Seladangs’ defence, marshaled by the gigantic Rafael Souza.
The winning goal came as early as the eight minute as the visitors failed to deal with Nasir Basharuddin’s long throw in into the penalty box.
Paulo Rangel managed to flick the ball to the six yards area and Azlan Ismail was on hand to tap the ball into the net and secured all three points for Azraai Khor’s team.
The hosts could have doubled their lead minutes after the restart but Rangel’s long range attempt was palmed away to safety by Singapore international Izwan Mahbud.
The visitors were clearly lacking of ideas in the first half as they did register any shots on goal until after the hour mark – after the introduction of the speedy and creative winger Faris Ramli.
LionsXII best chance to equalised came in the 65th minute when Baihakki Khaizan rise the highest and header the ball goal-wards but the central defender were denied by Farizal Marlias.
In desperate need of a goal, Sundramoorthy brought on the adventurous Nazrul Nazari and Fazrul Nawaz midway through the second half to add life and sparks to his team.
But there were not to be any happy ending for the Singapore side as Perak held their fort and extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points.
LionsXII will have a chance to exact revenge on Perak as they will host play host to them on August 31 at the Jalan Besar stadium.
Photo courtesy of FAS