DEFENDING Super League champions LionsXII face yet another East Coast hurdle when they face joint leaders Terengganu in tomorrow’s biggie at the Jalan Besar Stadium where Pahang shattered their 18-month unbeaten home record with a 2-1 win in a FA Cup match on Feb 1.
But that defeat has neither demoralised nor affected the confidence of Fandi Ahmad and his young Lions.
Instead, Fandi is more concerned with fatigue that has crept into the team due to the tight M-League schedule, coupled with Singapore’s Asian Cup qualifier against Jordan which was played last Tuesday at the same venue. Jordan won 3-1.
“Losing to Pahang at home is no big deal,” Fandi told Sports247.my.
“It is the ‘talking point’ of the fans and the media, but not me or the players. Sooner or later the bubble had to burst. In a way it has taken the pressure off our shoulders.
“Now we face Terengganu … another strong team from the East Coast. I am concerned with fatigue.
“There has been no rest for most of my players who have been playing football day in and day out, including the SEA Games.
“Our defeat in the FA Cup could be a blessing in disguise … if not we would be travelling again for the two-legged quarterfinals (on Feb 11 and 18).”
Terengganu are also out of the FA Cup after their 2-1 defeat to PKNS in the second round. However, the Turtles are second in the league, separated by goal difference behind leaders Selangor. Three other teams – Armed Forces, Kelantan and PKNS are also on six points each after three matches.
The Lions are seventh in the 12-team Super League and may have to make do without skipper Isa Halim (groin strain) and Safuwan Baharuddin (Achilles)