The Malaysia Super League champions will seeking to avoid a third consecutive loss when they take on coach Fandi Ahmad's former side at homeThree days after a disappointing 2-1 loss to Terengganu FA, the LionsXII return home to Jalan Besar Stadium to take on Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) in another clash against top-four opposition.
A contentious penalty was the LionsXII's downfall on Saturday after they took the lead early on through Khairul Amri, with the loss dealing their hopes of retaining the Malaysia Super League title another blow.
Fandi Ahmad and his men will nevertheless hope to fare better against JDT as they try to seal a finish in the top three, but they will need to avoid a third consecutive loss in a fourth successive match against a top-four side. A 4-1 home victory over then-leaders Pahang FA was followed by defeats to Selangor FA and then Terengganu, with third-placed JDT not likely to prove easier opposition.
Bojan Hodak's team come into this clash in decent form, undefeated in their last nine matches in all competitions, eight of which were league games. They will not lack motivation for three points either, which will see them draw level with second-placed Pahang on 29 points with six games left.
Argentinian hitman Luciano Figueroa is the obvious threat as JDT's leading scorer with eight league goals in hid debut season, while he will be ably supported by the likes of Amri Yahyah and Mahali Jasuli. New signing Jorge Pereyra Diaz will also be hunting for his first goal, while Singapore international Hariss Harun could feature at some point against his former club.
The LionsXII will miss combative midfielder Raihan Rahman due to suspension, with Firdaus Kasman the most likely candidate to slot in for him. It remains to be seen whether captain Safuwan Baharudin will continue in his advanced role, but Khairul Amri will spearhead the line as usual.
Gabriel Quak put in a lively display in Terengganu and is expected to retain his place. Hafiz Sujad could be another option in midfield, whether centrally or on the flanks, especially with Zulfahmi Arifin appearing unfit despite starting on Saturday. Aqhari Abdullah and Shahfiq Ghani are available if Fandi decides to shake things up as well.
The LionsXII may have been a tad unfortunate to lose in Terengganu but they will have to display more in attack against JDT if they want to reverse their losing fortunes, which sees them languish in eight place at the moment.
They can at least count on vociferous home support, with the clash already sold out, which could prove to be the telling difference.