The Lions XII are through to the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Cup but must find a way to get past arch-rival Pahang to seal a semi-final spot
Fandi Ahmad and Nazri Nasir must get their tactics right against Pahang. (Photo: FAS)
Fandi Ahmad’s dream of becoming the first Singaporean to win the Malaysia Cup as player and coach now lies in the epic quarter-final tie with Singapore’s old footballing foe, Pahang.
In 1994 at the Shah Alam Stadium, Fandi partnered Abbas Saad to lift the Malaysia Cup with the Singapore team after a 4-0 victory over Pahang in the final.
11 years on, the legend is attempting to steer his LionsXII boys to the final but, first, they must get past defending champion Pahang.
Goals Galore in Historic Fixture
This ‘glamour’ fixture has always produced goals. Over the past three seasons, a whopping 28 goals were scored in eight league and cup clashes. This season alone brought 11 goals in two games.
Singapore’s wily winger Faris Ramli loves to go up against the Pahang Elephants, with three goals to his name so far, while Argentine striker Matias Conti scored in both games against the LionsXII this season.
With pride at stake for coach and players, it will be down to Fandi and Zainal to get their tactics spot on.
New Kid Van Huizen Impresses
Christopher Van Huizen is the new golden boy of Singapore football. (Photo: FAS)
Just a year ago, nobody had heard of the boy wonder, Christopher Van Huizen. But, in a short span of 12 months, he has greatly impressed the local footballing fraternity as well as fans.
Fandi took a gamble by bringing this raw diamond into the mix, and he has repaid his coach’s faith with two goals and seven assists in all competitions, with his latest goal coming in the 2-1 away win over Terengganu.
The 22-year-old also earned a national team call-up in October, and will be a great weapon off the bench if the LionsXII need a boost of pace and trickery down the wings.
Along with Faris and Nazrul Nazari, the LionsXII have enough pace to outwit Pahang’s sometimes cumbersome centre-back pairing of Damion Stewart and Zesh Rehman.
The LionsXII stand a chance at winning their first-ever Malaysia Cup and completing the double, having won the Malaysian FA Cup in May.
By Kelvin Leong