At home against the same opponents, can Fandi's men do the double over Sime Darby? Our three experts give their take on the clash!
Given the state of affairs this season, while this looks like a pretty straightforward match on paper, it might probably not be as smooth sailing come Saturday when LionsXII host Sime Darby FC in the return encounter. It's a strange thing to have a back-to-back league match within a week of each other, but let's not go there. The LionsXII did win against Sime Darby last week, scoring two goals in the process. But I'm not entirely convinced that their goalscoring troubles are beyond them. I'm pretty sure they'll struggle to get goals again, having to rely on familiar faces to get the goals in recent weeks. For the betterment of the team and its morale, they need not just win, but win big. I'd be pleased if they do, but somehow I'm not inspired to believe that it will be the case.
|Prediction: 1-0. I will be modest with my prediction this week, despite holding some hope of a rout from the home side.
After that 1-1 draw against T-Team FC two weeks back, most supporters were full of doom and gloom. Yet, with the 2-0 win over Sime Darby last week, it was suddenly all bright and cheery again. The emotions of fans tend to be short-sighted and many did not (perhaps on purpose) see that even before last week, the form sheet read two wins and one draw. Now, it's three wins from four and the LionsXII have a great opportunity to stretch the unbeaten run to five. Of course, a victory would taste the sweetest and I can't see any reason to predict otherwise. The injuries Fandi have talked about seem to be clearing up a fair bit and he will have quite a few options for the clash at Jalan Besar Stadium, especially with Zulfahmi Arifin available again. The visitors won't lie down, like most sides, but I just feel that the LionsXII are a better footballing side. I hope to be proven right.
|Prediction: 2-0. Amri to strike again as the hosts complete a double.
The 2-0 win last weekend masked the fact that prior to scoring the first goal, the LionsXII squandered chances they should have converted. Had it been any other side, they would have been rightly punished, and they have been in the past. So while it was good to see Fandi's boys findhing the net again and looking confident, the cracks that affected the team are still there and it needs to be fixed. The defence was let off with Izwan in stupendous form to keep a clean sheet that on any other night would probably have eluded them. The match was closer than the result says but Sime Darby have shown they're a relatively easier opponent. On home turf, and on an artificial pitch, it's tempting to say this will be straightforward for the Lions. But in reality this could go either way if the defence slips up or the attackers don't take their chances.
|Prediction: 2-0. Stick to the plan and no reason why they can't repeat the scoreline.