Key Battles: LionsXII vs Kelantan

Ahead of the monumental clash between LionsXII and Kelantan FA, Goal Malaysia takes an exclusive look at key battles that could potentially determine the outcome of the match



When Shahril Ishak left LionsXII, people were already speculating on who will now takeover the burden of shouldering their team on the offensive department. But Khairul Amri has really stepped things up this season, and looks like an extremely dangerous outlet for the Singapore outfit. His ability to slip in between defenders is stellar, but also take nothing away from the sort of finishing that he is capable of exhibiting in different circumstances. This is a real poacher that we're talking about here. And this is precisely why Obinna Nwaneri will want to pay extra attention in curbing the threat posed by Khairul Amri. The Nigerian certainly has the credentials, as well as the composure. Question is, can he do it on Saturday night?


There's no denying the fact that Piya is an extremely pivotal part of the Kelantan set-up, particularly within the manner in which Steve Darby likes his men to execute tactics. On the other hand, Fandi Ahmad has been using Safuwan as a pace-breaker in matches this season, where he has been relatively effective. Sitting just above the defence, Safuwan is now able to disrupt opposing attacks before it even reaches the defence and that could potentially be key on Saturday night. Forkey Doe and Ghaddar are excellent forwards, but even they rely on the supply that comes in from the midfield, particularly Piya. Thus, this battle could very well determine the tempo of the game; something that Kelantan will be extremely wary about, considering LionsXII's record on the artificial turf at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

While Kelantan continously depend on the supply from their midfielders, Forkey Doe does not stop demanding for it. His runs are usually well timed and he tends to use his upper body strength in order to shake the defenders away and perform admirably in creating as well as finishing key chances. With Safuwan Baharuddin likely to start in a defensive midfield position, the onus will now be on Shakir Hamzah to lead the defence. The thing about Shakir is that, he is extremely smart and composed, and that complements well with the fact that Forkey Doe can be predictable at times. The Liberian needs to be more industrious with his approach tonight as this battle could also potentially seal the deal for either side.