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Lions Savour Maldivian Meal


Qiu Li scoring his second of the game. (Photo: SSC)

 
Regaining their hunger and bite, the Lions despatched the Maldivians with ruthless efficiency.

 

With a chorus of voices singing, “You’ll never beat the Lions!” the revamped squad certainly gave the 2000 strong fans something to sing about.

 

There were no long balls punted hopefully into the box and no defensive lapses. But more importantly, the Lions played with hunger and conviction, quickly closing their opponents down and making every pass count, their performance was certainly a joy to behold.

 

With captain Hariss Harun and Daniel Bennett marshalling the defence, the attacking quartet comprising of Shi Jiayi, Shahdan Sulaiman, Aleksandar Duric and Qiu Li were granted the freedom to perform their symphony of brilliance.

 

Confidently converting a 13th minute penalty, Qiu Li turned in a virtuosic performance, marked with a moment of brilliance in the 19th minute, receiving the ball on the left flank, Qiu Li left his markers for dead as he danced his way into the box to score his second of the night.

 

His individual brilliance coupled with Shi Jiayi’s 30th minute goal ensured that the Lions headed into the break with a healthy 3-0 lead.

 

Coming out of the tunnel for the second half, the Lions showed no signs of complacency as Duric scored a simple tap-in within three minutes of the restart.

 

With the game now certainly out of reach for the Maldivians, head coach Raddy Avramovic allowed the younger boys some international experience as wholesale changes were made.

 

Though they did not add to the score tally, the younger boys did their selection chances no harm, as they played engaged in some delightful passing.

 

Singling out Shi and Shahdan for their inventive attacking after the game,  along with Qiu, Avramovice was certainly pleased with this performance but urges everyone not to get carried away as he is aware that the Lions are still a work in progress.

 

 "We have tried to play like this for a long time... but sometimes players forget what we want to do when we go on the field. This is the first game after six months and you can't expect everything, but I was happy with the first half performance. We saw many of the good football elements that we are trying to build in this team, there was good passing, good movement and a lot of chances created that way." 

 

But even as the Lions are still a work in progress, this performance certainly gives the fans something to cheer about.