LionsXII vs ATM FA Preview: Defensive crisis for Sundram's men
The Malaysian Super League table-toppers will be forced to reshuffle their back-line due to injuries and suspensions, as they seek to maintain their perfect home record
By Khalis Rifhan
Faritz - Hariss - Shakir - Irwan
Isa Halim - Hafiz
Fazrul - Shahril (C) - Faris
Reuben - Taj - Irwan - Shazuan
Christie - Martelotto - Affizie - Elphi
Hai.O (C) - Marlon
Reaching the peak of the table may be met with difficulties along the way, but staying put at the summit is more than just a gargantuan challenge - one that requires the discipline and mental strength of every single player in the squad.
That is the predicament the LionsXII find themselves in right now. A week ago, their four-point lead at the top of the table was reduced to two after an uninspiring draw against bottom-of-table Negeri Sembilan at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi, Seremban.
LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy has to dig deep into his reserves as he will be forced to tinker with his starting lineup against the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), due to several players being unavailable for selection.
Key central defender Safuwan Baharudin is serving a one-match ban after picking up his third yellow card of the season, while his regular partner Baihakki Khaizan is serving the second of a two-match suspension after collecting a sixth yellow card during the home match against Negeri Sembilan.
In the centre of the field, Zulfahmi Arifin will be out of action for several weeks after meeting with a motorcycle accident on Monday evening. To add to their woes, Hariss Harun is doubtful for this clash as well after suffering an ankle injury on Friday.
The midfielder was set to slot in at centreback alongside Shakir Hamzah in a makeshift pairing, but if he is not fit to play, regular right-back Faritz Hameed should fill in the void.
The visitors will come into the game buoyed with confidence after registering a morale-boosting victory over defending Malaysian Super League champions Kelantan in Kota Bharu, ending the Red Warriors' 42-match unbeaten run on home ground - a streak that stretched back to May 25, 2011.
Of course, the home side have their own perfect record to defend at the Jalan Besar Stadium, having won all six of their league games there so far. Second-placed Johor Darul Takzim overtook them with a 1-0 win over Pahang FA on Friday, and the LionsXII will be keen to reclaim top spot with victory in this game.
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Top 3 Predictions
LionsXII 2-1 ATM FA
- 22.22 %
LionsXII 1-1 ATM FA
- 13.33 %
LionsXII 0-1 ATM FA
- 11.11 %
|Malaysia Super League (MSL)||Feb 15, 2014||ATM FA 1 - LionsXII 2|
|Malaysia Cup (MC)||Oct 4, 2013||ATM FA 4 - LionsXII 1|
|Malaysia Cup (MC)||Sep 28, 2013||LionsXII 1 - ATM FA 0|
|Malaysia Super League (MSL)||Apr 20, 2013||LionsXII 3 - ATM FA 1|
|Malaysia Super League (MSL)||Jan 9, 2013||ATM FA 0 - LionsXII 1|
|Apr 19, 2014||Selangor FA 1 - LionsXII 0||MSL|
|Apr 15, 2014||LionsXII 4 - Pahang FA 1||MSL|
|Apr 12, 2014||LionsXII 0 - Sime Darby FC 1||MSL|
|Apr 5, 2014||Sime Darby FC 0 - LionsXII 2||MSL|
|Mar 29, 2014||LionsXII 1 - T-Team FC 1||MSL|
|-||Mohd Farizal bin Harun||Goalkeeper|
|21||Irwan Fadzli Idrus||Defender|
|-||Amirizwan Taj bin Tajudin||Defender|
|19||D. Christie Jayaselan||Midfielder|
|-||Muhammad Shukor bin Adan||Midfielder|
|10||Bruno Sebastián Martelotto||Midfielder|
|23||Rezal Zambery Yahya||Midfielder|
|9||Marlon Alex James||Striker|
|20||Hairuddin bin Omar||Striker|