By Nigel Chin
LionsXII head coach Fandi Ahmad felt that his team proved themselves a team still to be feared by beating Pahang FA for the second time in all competitions this season.
The Singapore side defeated the Malaysia FA Cup winners 4-1 at home earlier this year in the Malaysia Super League and followed that up with a 2-1 victory at the Darul Makmur Stadium last evening.
“I thought we dominated most of the game and this is what we are looking for from the Lions,” a visibly elated Fandi said at the end of the game.
“We fought, (had a) never say die attitude and proved today that we are still a team to be reckoned with. Of course, we didn’t have a good start to the Malaysia Cup but the boys did themselves a favour today.”
In their fifth game of Group A, the LionsXII once again dominated proceedings from start to finish, although they had to dig deep after conceding an early goal against Pahang.
An assist and a goal from right-back Madhu Mohana though, changed the whole outlook of the game and ensured that the LionsXII took home their first win of the season.
And Madhu’s man of the match performance duly earned him praises from the Singapore footballing legend.
“Madhu is improving every game,” Fandi said.
“He played to instruction and closed down Gopinathan and did very well. He contributed a lot in the game.
“The 2 wingers (Nazrul Nazari and Faris Ramli) also made a huge difference. (Khairul) Nizam also made a difference in the first half, and Sufian too. The front two opened up the defence.”
Despite the win, the LionsXII are out of the running to qualify for the knockout stages in the Malaysia Cup, following Felda United’s 3-1 win over Johor Darul Tak’zim II. However, Fandi is not going to be taking the last game easy.
“We are going to do better. We want to keep winning. The boys were very eager to go to the next round,” explained Fandi.
“We have to learn, and this is a big learning process for the players. I thought we did quite well but the whole tournament, we were mediocre at home.
“Today, the fighting spirit was better. We want to end the campaign strongly with a win and we will be playing our best players. However, we might give a few fringe players like Samuel Benjamin and Emmeric Ong a chance to play as well.”