Nizam's 'world-class' equaliser for LionsXII
LionsXII striker's spectacular goal keeps alive hopes of top-four finish
(Khairul Nizam 88)
(Afiq Azmi 59)
World-class. Spectacular. Golazo.
It was, in his own words, "the most beautiful goal in my career".
And it could well be the best goal witnessed in the Malaysian Super League this season, an instinctive improvisation like V Sundramoorthy's bicycle-kick goal against Brunei in 1993.
LionsXII striker Khairul Nizam was on the pitch for only seven minutes as a subsitute for Khairul Amri when he eyed Faritz Abdul Hameed's cross from the right wing in the 88th minute.
The 24-year-old then launched himself into an acrobatic scissors-kick to score a dramatic 88th-minute equaliser.
Nizam's goal cancelled out Afiq Azmi's 59th-minute opener and also helped extend his team's unbeaten record at the Jalan Besar Stadium to 14 games.
"I have always wanted to score this beautiful goal throughout my career," said a beaming Nizam post-match.
"It is something I have tried many times in matches, but it never came off. I have scored some in training, but never in a competitive match.
"When I saw the cross come in, I wanted to head the ball, but it was too low, so I had to improvise, and I'm so happy it went in for the equaliser because I really didn't want us to lose at home."
Watch: Khairul Nizam's 'beautiful goal'
Coaches from both teams joined in the tributes for the breathtaking goal.
Selangor coach Mehmet Durakovic, a former Australian international who won three Malaysia Cups with the Red Giants, said: "It's a world-class goal and you cannot do anything about that."
Even while reliving the moment, LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad got pumped up, and said: "What a spectacular goal!
"I thought he would chest the ball but he went for it and did something really special. We have faith in him and that's why he is in our team, and we are really happy for him."
With two matches remaining, the LionsXII are still in the hunt for a top-four finish even though they are seventh on 30 points now, three points behind third-placed Selangor.
While his players are fighting fatigue, as evident in a sluggish first half before coming alive in the last half hour, Fandi said his team will go all out for the six points and end the season on a high.
He said: "As you have seen, we have special players who can create special moments like these, and we hope our fans will come for our last home league match against Sime Darby next Saturday and also support us during the Malaysia Cup."
- LIONSXII: Izwan Mahbud 6, Faritz Abdul Hameed 6.5, Madhu Mohana 6, Shakir Hamzah 6.5, Hafiz Abu Sujad 6.5, Izzdin Shafiq 6, Safuwan Baharudin 6.5, Shahdan Sulaiman 6; (Zulfahmi Arifin 62) 6.5, Nazrul Ahmad Nazari 7, Khairul Amri 6 (Khairul Nizam 81) 7, Faris Ramli 6 (Gabriel Quak 62) 6
- SELANGOR: Norazlan Razali, Bunyamin Umar (Azmi Muslim 65), Sharom Abdul Kalam, Rizal Fahmi Abdul Rosid, Azrif Nazrulhaq, Andik Vermanshah, Nazmi Faiz Mansor (S Veenod 90), Leandro Dos Santos, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Guilherme De Paula, Afiq Azmi (Thamil Arasu 71)
- Shots: LionsXII 5 on target, 7 off target; Selangor 2 on target, 3 off target
- Corners: LionsXII 9; Selangor 1
- Yellow cards: LionsXII 2 (Nazrul Ahmad Nazari, Gabriel Quak); Selangor 2
- Offsides: LionsXII 0; Selangor 6
- Possession: LionsXII 61 per cent; Selangor 39 per cent
- Attendance: 5,814
- Referee: Suhaizi Shukri 6/10
- Match rating: 6.5/10
TNP MAN OF THE MATCH: KHAIRUL NIZAM
On the pitch for just a few minutes, the LionsXII striker scored perhaps one of the most stunning goals Jalan Besar will witness. He launched into an acrobatic scissors-kick to volley Faritz Abdul Hameed's right-wing cross beyond Norazlan Razali to help extend his team's unbeaten home record to 14 games.
BLOW BY BLOW
11 min- LionsXII winger Nazrul Ahmad Nazari shoots from just inside the box but Selangor goalkeeper Norazlan Razali is equal to the task, tipping the shot over.
59 min- GOAL! Selangor's lanky frontman Afiq Azmi steals ahead of his marker and sends a header beyond the reach of an outstretched Izwan Mahbud.
87 min- Nazrul connects a volley with his weaker left foot from just outside the box, but watches in anguish as the ball cannons off the crossbar and out.
88 min- GOAL! Khairul Nizam times his scisssors-kick to perfection, and the ball flies past Norazlan. A stunning strike from the LionsXII No. 10.