LionsXII dominated from start to finish as they emerged 3-1 victors over ATM FA on Saturday evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
An own goal from Fazly Alias set the home team on their way, before Safuwan Baharudin and Shahdan Sulaiman wrapped up the win in the second half.
As early as the second minute, they threatened to open the floodgates, but Khairul Nizam’s acrobatic effort from a deflected Gabriel Quak cross was wide of the mark.
The hosts were unable to break down a compact ATM side, until Faris Ramli had another bicycle kick attempt after Quak guided a cross towards him in the 21st minute. The winger however, scuffed his attempt and the ball bounced wide.
Three minutes later, Izzdin Shafiq saw a volley deflected off target, before he set up Faris in the 30th minute with a fantastic ball, only for the latter to put his attempted lob over the bar.
Amri then smacked his free-kick against the cross bar, before Venice Elphi forced Izwan Mahbud into a save down the other end.
The pressure finally paid off though, as the LionsXII got their deserved goal six minutes from the half-time whistle after Fazly turned Faris’ free-kick into his own net under pressure from Safuwan.
LionsXII head coach Fandi Ahmad made some tactical changes at the break, with Zulfahmi Arifin moving into the heart of the defence while Safuwan took his place in midfield.
The move worked a treat, as they doubled the lead minutes after the restart.
A cross from Quak that failed to find Nizam was picked up by Faris. The winger laid the ball back for Safuwan, and he side-footed the ball into the bottom corner to double the lead.
It could have been three four minutes later, but Syed Adney produced a superb double save to deny Khairul Amri’s flick with his back heel, and Faris’ shot from the follow-up.
Fazly then redeemed himself by reducing the deficit in the 60th minute, after escaping Nizam’s attention to meet Mario Karlovic’s corner and power a bullet header into the roof of the net.
Centre-back Madhu Mohana wasted a golden opportunity almost three quarters into the match, heading wide Quak’s cross despite having ample of space and time.
Substitute Shahdan then wrapped up the victory with LionsXII’s third goal, guiding a nodded ball from Safuwan into the bottom corner in the 84th minute to wrap up the win.
LionsXII: Izwan Mahbud (GK)(C), Madhu Mohana, Gabriel Quak, Khairul Nizam (Shahdan Sulaiman 81’), Nazrul Nazari, Izzdin Shafiq, Faris Ramli (Firdaus Kasman 78’), Khairul Amri (Sahil Suhaimi 68’), Safuwan Baharudin, Zulfahmi Arifin, Shakir Hamzah