By Gabriel Tan
In a game that was bereft of many scoring chances, the Red Ants sealed all three points in the 78th minute when substitute Nazrin Syamsul scored with a stunning 30-yard effort.
The result was also the third consecutive occasion that the LIONSXII have visited PKNS and ended up on the losing end, after 1-0 defeats in the league and Malaysia Cup last season.
Nonetheless, the Singaporean outfit have only themselves to blame as they arguably created the better chances throughout the 90 minutes.
Following an tense opening which saw both sides enjoy an equal share of possession, it was the LIONSXII who carved out the first real chance in the 26th minute when Fazrul Nawaz fired a shot just wide of the far post, after captain Shahril Ishak had held up the ball well on the edge of the area before threading a pass through to his strike partner.
Six minutes before the break, they had an even better chance when debutant Gabriel Quak stole possession inside the opposition half and made his way through on goal after deftly skipping past Es Lizuan Zahid Amir, only to poke his effort wide with only Remezey Che Ros to beat.
PKNS then had their goalkeeper to thank for preventing the visitors from breaking the deadlock a minute after the break when he somehow kept out an effort from Shahril, who had turned the ball towards goal by throwing his body at it after Baihakki Khaizan had met a freekick at the back post and nodded it back into the danger zone.
A minute before the hour mark, Quak found himself in another promising position when he stole the ball from Helmi Remeli and broke down the right and into the box, but the PKNS skipper made amends for his error by recovering well to dispossess the winger before he could pull the trigger.
It was beginning to look as though neither side would find the breakthrough but 12 minutes from time, the hosts edged ahead through a moment of brilliance from Nazrin.
13 minutes after coming on for the ineffective Zamri Morshidi, the 22-year-old picked up possession 30 yards out and unleashed a rocket of a strike that arrowed straight into the top corner and had Izwan Mahbud beaten all ends up.
And with their perfect start to the season fast evaporating before their very eyes, the LIONSXII began to let their frustration get the better of them.
Four minutes into injury time, Fazrul received a straight red after lunging in on Khairu Azrin Khazali to cap off a disappointing day at the office for V. Sundramoorthy's men.
PKNS FC: Remezy Che Ros, Alyy Imran Ismail (Azlan Zainal 90'), Es Lizuan Zahid Amir, Helmi Remeli, P. Gunalan, Aminuddin Mohd Noor, Fauzan Dzulkifli, Khairu Azrin Khazali, Fazli Baharudin, Norhakim Hassan (Faiz Isa 69'), Zamri Morshidi (Nazrin Syamsul 65').
LIONSXII: Izwan Mahbud, Faritz Hameed, Baihakki Khaizan, Safuwan Baharudin, Irwan Shah, Isa Halim, Hafiz Abu Sujad (Nazrul Nazari 79'), Safirul Sulaiman (Syafiq Zainal 79'), Shahril Ishak, Gabriel Quak (Izzdin Shafiq 71'), Fazrul Nawaz.