The Elephants and the Lions meet again, two weeks after their last battle, this time in the FA Cup
Hameed - Mohana - Yunos - Sujad
Ramli - Arifin - Safuwan - Halim
Amri - Anuar
Jalal - Zesh - Damion - Shahrizan
Hafiz - Azidan - Faizol - Gopi
Conti - Azamuddin
When Pahang travel to Singapore on Saturday evening, they will be well aware that the hosts will be looking for revenge. Only two weeks ago the Elephants defeated last years champions in the Malaysia Super League curtain raiser and Charity Shield match in Kuantan, but since then Lions XII have enjoyed some promising form and will look to continue this by advancing into the third round of the FA Cup.
LionsXII have indeed recovered well following their opening day loss to Pahang. Wins over DRB-Hicom FC and Selangor was followed up by a pulsating draw at Johor Darul Ta’zim, results that demonstrate the Singaporean team will not be a soft touch this season. It was suggested prior to the season that a youthful team may struggle to repeat the results of last season, but the commitment and fight shown by the team thus far will have given new coach Fandi Ahmed comfort. After the midweek comeback against Johor, Fandi said that his team “changed from boys to men” and “never gave up.” With such confidence, and dominating home form, Ahmed will be confident that his team can make strides in this competition and allow him to go one step further this season than he managed with Johor in last seasons FA Cup.
They will again rely on Khairul Amri for goals, he has two in his last two, while Faris Ramli will be one of the men tasked with providing service. Isa Halim, who was substituted for his own benefit at half-time on Tuesday, is likely to keep his place in the starting eleven. However Shakir Hamzah may well miss out through injury and is likely to be replaced by Hafiz Sujad.
As for Pahang, their season has worryingly hit the skids already, with successive defeats at the hands of Sime Darby and Selangor. In those matches the Elephants could not call on the services of new striker Dickson Nwakaeme, and he’ll be again missing here as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Coach Ron Smith told the Star “I don’t want to rush Dickson and field him in the next couple of matches. He needs time to recover and I don’t want him to suffer a recurrence of the injury."
The main concern for Smith will be the lack of goals, with his team unable to find the net in the last two matches. Despite Dickson being out, the likes of Matias Conti, Akil Azamuddin, Gopinathan and Surendran should have enough quality to create chances and hit the back of the net.
The match will be played at Jalan Besar Stadium at 7:30pm.