Pahang the league leaders were given a rude shock at the Jalan Besar stadium last night.
It was the host, the LionsXII which plundered three goals to put a halt to Pahang’s relentless match to the top of the league to inflict the heaviest defeat of the season so far on the defending Malaysia Cup champion.
But it was a brave performance from the LionsXII to put their league challenge back on track again just when they facing a difficult period ahead.
It was a starting Pahang line-up last night which saw little surprise with coach Zainal Abidin Hassan opting to stay put with the same eleven which beat T-Team in midweek, except for the return of their Nigerian striker Dickson Nwakame from suspension.
The league leaders clearly are the team in form and they showed it on the artificial turf of the Jalan Besar stadium pitch, dominating the proceedings very early on and got the reward they richly deserved.
It was a freekick swung in by Azidan Sarudin into the LionsXII 18-yard box which was met with the right foot of the towering Jamaican defender Damion Stewart and Pahang took a eighth minute lead.
There was further problems for the LionsXII when midfielder Raihan Rahman took a knock on the head in the 27th min and had to be replaced by Aqhari Abdullah but the substitution gave the oppurtunity for coach Fandi Ahmad to plot a different strategy instead.
Skipper Safuwan Baharuddin was pushed upfront into midfield with Faritz Hameed who started as a midfielder last night was asked to move back into his familiar left back role with Afiq Yunos and Madhu Mohana patrolling the heart of the LionsXII defence.
It was a positive move and in the 29th min the LionsXII equalised. And it was the right foot shot of Safuwan off a corner kick which landed at the back of the Pahang net for his third goal of the league so far.
It was Pahang who held steady in the second period but then again substitute Sufian Annuar who had come in for the injured Khairul Nizam Kamal stole in behind the Pahang backline to put the LionsXII ahead in the 79th min.
And from then on Pahang were a demoralised side, giving away two more goals in the fve minutes of injury time with Suffian producing his first hattrick of the season.
LionsXII- Izwan Mahbud, Shakir Hamzah, Afiq Yunos, Madhu Mohana, Hafiz Sujad, Faritz Hameed, Khairul Nizam Kamal, Raihan Rahman, Faris Ramli, Khairul Amri Kamal, Safuwan Baharuddin.
Reserves- Gabrial Quak, Aqhari Abdullah, Sufian Annuar, Khairulhin Khalid(GK), Zulfahmi Amin, Firdaus Kasman,Shafiq Ghani.
Pahang– Khairul Azhan, Damion Stewart, Zeshan Rahman, Azidan Sarudin, Dickson Nwakame, Azamuddin Akil, Razaman Roslan, Fauzi Rozlan, Sharizan Salleh, R.Gopinathan, Hafiz Kamal.
Reserves- Jalaludin Jaafar, R.Surendran, Matias Conti, Faizol Hussein, Malik Arif, Syawal Norsham, Nasril Nourdin(GK).
Ref- Syed Azhar Syed Kama