By Abhishek Mehrotra
The 20-year-old midfielder curled in a beautiful free-kick midway through the second-half after Shahfiq Ghani had helped the home side equalise only 60 seconds after Fazrul Nawaz had given SAFFC the lead in the 44th minute.
Chances were at a premium in a first half during which defensive solidity dominated attacking flair right until the dying moments.
Syafiq Zainal was the first to try his luck from distance in the fifth minute, but his weak shot was easily gathered by Shahril Jantan. SAFFC then had Zulfadli Zainal Abidin to thank four minutes later, the left-back doing well to head clear Aqhari Abdullah's cross meant for Shahfiq.
The visitors had had a decent chance of their own when Marin Vidosevic thundered his free-kick from 35 yards right into the wall a couple of minutes earlier, but seemed to be struggling to come to grips with the turf in the early stages.
Razaleigh Khalik in particular was having a testing time against the lively Benjamin Kristoffersen Lee. The right-back allowed the Young Lions winger to cut in and get a shot away in the 15th minute. Fortunately for the Warriors, it was weak and straight at Shahril.
A minute later at the other end, Fazrul rose well to flick on for Mislav Karoglan, who seemed to be through, but an alert Sirina Camara hooked the danger clear. The Singapore striker then teed up Tatsuro Inui whose shot was blocked by a sea of bodies in the penalty area before Shukor Zailan's follow-up strike was deflected out for a corner.
The game was turning into a midfield melee with neither side really able to carve out any clear cut chances, but just when a goalless 45 minutes seemed to be in the offing two goals arrived within a minute of each other.
First, Shukor found Karoglan, who had drifted wider than usual on the right to escape Camara's attentions, and the striker sent in a perfectly weighted centre for Fazrul to get in front of Faritz Hameed and swept the ball home from close range.
The Young Lions responded immediately upon resumption with a near-identical goal. Nazrul Nazari went on a lung bursting run down the right flank before cutting back for Shahfiq stationed just inside the area.
With no SAFFC defender near him, the striker took his time to bring the ball down and place a precise left-footed strike into Shahril's right bottom corner as both sides went into the break on even terms.
Despite having conceded at such a crucial time, Richard Bok's men came out playing with purpose as Inui's cross in from the right just evaded both Karoglan and Marin Vidasevic two minutes after the restart.
Shimpei Sakurada was next to go close, the Japanese midfielder seeing his shot well blocked by Syazwan after the Young Lions keeper had made a mess of another Inui delivery.
The goal finally did come in the 66th minute, but not at the end most were expecting. Lee cut in again from the left thanks to a mazy run, and was brought down by Vidasevic about three yards from the area. Up stepped Aqhari and curled it magnificently into the top right corner, leaving Shahril no chance, to give his side the lead. It was a moment of magic, and one that ultimately won Robin Chitrakar's men the game.
The home side would have doubled their lead a minute later when Camara went on a lung-busting run down the left, skipping past three opponent players, before sending in the perfect cross, but substitute Haniff Sadique inexplicably waited for the ball to drop rather than take it on the volley, and the chance went begging.
Highlights: Young Lions 2-1 SAFFC.. More Videos
SAFFC were reeling, and Zulfadli made things worse a mere six minutes after SAFFC had conceded the second. The full-back upended Sheikh Abdul Hadi right under the nose of the referee and having been booked somewhat harshly in the first half, was immediately given his marching orders.
The Warriors continued pressing for the equaliser as the game took on a completely different feel from the rather disjointed first half, and Fazrul wasted a golden opportunity in the 81st minute when Karoglan's peach of a swivel pass sent them racing through on goal but with only the keeper to beat, the striker blazed his shot into the road behind Jalan Besar.
The 27-year-old did have the ball in the back of the net after Syazwan had parried Karoglan's snapshot straight into his path, but the whistle had gone for offside. The tempo remained incredibly high all through the latter stages of the game, which made it all the more unfortunate that the game finished on a somewhat farcical note with a straight red for each team.
SAFFC captain Daniel Bennett seemed to be the initial offender, bringing down Haniff just as the game entered injury time, but as both lay in a tangle on the ground, the Young Lions player lashed out with his leg, which prompted a reaction from the veteran defender. After conferring with the linesman, referee K.Kalimuthu sent both players off.
The visitors continued to search for a goal even with nine men, but Young Lions held their nerve in the dying moments for their second big scalp in four days, having already beaten Harimau Muda on Thuerday.
Bok meanwhile was left to reflect on a 90 minute nightmare so soon after his return from Japan.
Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari, Faritz Hameed, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Hafiz Sujad, Sirina Camara, Shamil Sharif, Aqhari Abdullah, Benjamin Kristoffersen Lee, Nazrul Nazari, Syafiq Zainal, Shahfiq Ghani
Subs: Zulfahmi Arifin for Shamil Sharif (54'), Haniff Sadique for Syafiq Zainal (67'), Fazli Ayob for Nazrul Nazari (76')
Goals: Shahfiq Ghani (45'), Aqhari Abdullah (66')
Yellow Cards: Syafiq Zainal (10'), Sirina Camara (49')
Red Cards: Haniff Sadique (90')
SAFFC: Shahril Jantan, Razaleigh Khalik, Marin Vidosevic, Daniel Bennett, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Shimpei Sakurada, Tatsuro Inui, Shukor Zailan, Aliff Shafaein, Mislav Karoglan, Fazrul Nawaz
Subs: Ruzaini Zainal for Aliff Shafaein (71'), Noh Rahman for Shukor Zailan (71'), Prakash Manikam for Razaleigh Khalik (86')
Goals: Fazrul Nawaz (44')
Yellow Cards: Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (7', 72'), Shukor Zailan (20'), Marin Vidasevic (66'), Razaleigh Khalik (85'), Ruzaini Zainal (90')
Red Cards: Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (72'), Daniel Bennett (90')