LionsXII look to bounce back against Sarawak
The Malaysian Super League champions will hope to nab their first three points of the Malaysia Cup in Kuching following a disappointing opening 2-2 draw with Kedah FA
By Teng Kiat
Shahran - Mafri - Ronny - Hairol
Shahrol - Eldstal - Bwele - Kalang Tie
Bobby - Muamer
Faritz - Safuwan - Baihakki - Shakir
Isa - Hariss (C)
Nazrul - Shahfiq - Faris
It was not the start the LionsXII would have wanted. Leading 2-1 against Kedah FA in their Malaysia Cup opener, they conceded an 93rd-minute penalty that was clinically converted by Alen Guc to drop two points at home.
V. Sundramoorthy would have expected the three points on a Jalan Besar Stadium ground on which his team only dropped two points during their victorious Malaysian Super League (MSL) campaign, but there is no time for regrets now.
The LionsXII will travel east to Kuching to take on Malaysian Premier League (MPL) champions Sarawak FA, where they will hope to bring a victory back home to make up for Tuesday's disappointment.
But they will most likely have to do without inspirational skipper Shahril Ishak, who was stretchered off against Kedah in the second half. The team's top scorer in the MSL has swollen knee and is doubtful to start against Sarawak, although he could still make the bench.
In his absence, super-sub Shahfiq Ghani looks set to deputise behind striker Fazrul Nawaz and Sundram will hope the forward's left foot can cause mayhem at set-pieces.
With key defender Safuwan Baharudin back to partner Baihakki Khaizan in the centre, Shakir Hamzah will be shifted back to his favoured left-back position.
For Sarawak, top scorer Bobby Gonzales will present the obvious threat having slammed in 19 goals for them as they regained their top-flight status just one season after being relegated from the MSL.
Swedish-Malaysian defensive midfielder Junior Eldstal is also a class act in the middle of the pitch and was handed a surprise call-up to the Malaysian national team for recent friendlies against Chelsea and Barcelona. He will form a solid partnership alongside Cameroonian Guy Bwele, who has arguably been their most consistent player.
The Bujang Senang won their last five league games and with coach Robert Alberts preaching an effective yet attacking style of play, they will be no pushovers at home. Moreover, Alberts will urge his team to go all out for victory having lost 2-1 against Perak FA in their opener despite being the better side.
Sundram himself admitted after the Kedah draw that the Malaysia Cup would not be an "easy ride", and he will get a better idea of whether his side can navigate the bumps after this tricky encounter in Sarawak.
|Make a deposit now and earn up to SGD 388 bonus from 188BET!|
|Sign up with Ladbrokes for a free bet up to $100|
Top 3 Predictions
Sarawak FA 0-1 LionsXII
- 22.22 %
Sarawak FA 1-2 LionsXII
- 7.41 %
Sarawak FA 1-3 LionsXII
- 7.41 %
|Malaysia Cup (MC)||Sep 18, 2013||LionsXII 1 - Sarawak FA 0|
|Malaysia Cup (MC)||Aug 24, 2013||Sarawak FA 2 - LionsXII 1|
|Malaysia Super League (MSL)||May 22, 2012||LionsXII 3 - Sarawak FA 0|
|Malaysia Super League (MSL)||Mar 17, 2012||Sarawak FA 0 - LionsXII 1|
|Mar 8, 2014||T-Team FC 2 - Sarawak FA 0||MSL|
|Feb 18, 2014||Sarawak FA 2 - Felda United FC 2||FA|
|Feb 15, 2014||Sarawak FA 1 - Perak FA 0||MSL|
|Feb 11, 2014||Felda United FC 0 - Sarawak FA 0||FA|
|Feb 7, 2014||PKNS FC 0 - Sarawak FA 2||MSL|
|22||Sani Anuar bin Kamsani||Goalkeeper|
|17||Mohd Hairol bin Mokhtar||Defender|
|-||Mafry bin Balang||Defender|
|2||Ronny bin Harun||Defender|
|-||Joseph Kalang Tie||Midfielder|
|33||Zamri bin Morshidi||Striker|
|16||Mohammad Shahrol bin Saperi||Midfielder|
|3||Mazwandi bin Zekeria||Defender|
|8||Mohd Azizan bin Baba||Midfielder|
Times In SGT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed