Sundram: LionsXII are close to title now

The LionsXII coach is of the belief that the next few matches will help determine the winner of this year's championship
By Eddie Ridzwan

The LionsXII improved on their impressive home record as they brushed aside PKNS FC 3-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday night.

Goals from Hariss Harun, Nazrul Nazari and Khairul Nizam settled all three points for the Malaysian Super League leaders, who extended their lead at the top to four points.

LionsXII coach V.Sundramoorthy was in an ecstatic mood after the win, smiling as he entered the room for the post-match press conference.

"We are close to the title now with four games left," he declared.

"Now it is important that we get a good result on June 22 against Johor Darul Takzim, so we will pull away from them in the title race and leave it to between us and ATM on the last round of the Malaysian Super League.

"The first half today, we had many good chances and good opportunities but we failed to convert [them]. Eventually, we needed Hariss' goal to break the deadlock and give us the lead.

"It was also good to see [Khairul] Nizam score a goal after a long long layoff due to injury. That was just the icing on the cake tonight."

Sundram also explained the decision to let goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud take a freekick in the opponents' half in the 10th minute.

"He has good technique with freekicks and he does put the ball into the top corner during trainings," he said.

"But I guess the pressure from the crowd did not help him today but still, the boy has good freekick abilities.

"Do not be surprised to see him take more freekicks later this season."

The former Singapore international also played down the effect that the artificial pitch had on their win.

"We know coming to Jalan Besar to play is not easy [and] many teams have used that as an excuse when they lose but look at Atletico Madrid!" Sundram claimed.

"They came here and passed the ball around like they have played on this pitch for ten years! So no excuses about the pitch.

"However, full credit goes to PKNS for being tough opposition to take down. Patrick Ronaldinho was always a threat to our goal but now our focus is to prepare for the match on June 22 with Johor Darul Takzim."