|By Bhas Kunju
Chief Editor, Goal.com Singapore
Tuesday night, the LionsXII will have their most important test so far in their maiden Malaysian football campaign when they take on Pahang FA at Jalan Besar Stadium in the second leg of the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals.
Having lost the first-leg 2-1, the Lions have the advantage of the away goal but will still have work to do given the disappointing perfomance in their last match, when they failed to even register one shot on goal. LionsXII's consolation came from a Jalalludin Abu Jaafar own goal.
Fandi Ahmad, Singapore's most celebrated footballer, spoke to Goal.com Singapore at the launch of the EPL Masters Singapore event and felt assured that V.Sundramoorthy's charges will progress.
"I'm sure they will go through," said the Malaysia Cup veteran.
"The advantage for them is that they got an away goal. But they need to get a goal, an early goal. The advantage is that they're playing on home turf. The team's solid at the back and are organised but they need to score goals.
"Because Pahang is very dangerous in counterattacking. But they have a very very fragile defence. Even the goalkeeper is very shaky. Singapore should take advantage."
The current Johor FA manager, who will soon be stepping up to a manager cum coaching role with the newly-merged Johor team in the Super League next year, cited his side's experience with Pahang FA.
"My team beat them 2-0. Away we lost 2-0, I had just arrived at the club at that time so i wasn't familiar. But at home we beat them 2-0."
Having scored just 5 goals from 7 games in the Cup, with no away goals safe for the own goal against Pahang, Fandi too was aware of the LionsXII woes in front of goal.
"They are an organised team," said Fandi of the Lions.
"What they are lacking is scoring goals maybe. At the moment they are struggling with goals. Even in the league at the beginning they were scoring quite regularly in home games, but now they are struggling even in that. But they also have injuries to be concerned about."
Nevertheless, Fandi was certain that the Singapore side will reach the semi-finals scheduled for Friday.
"I think Singapore will go through," he reiterated.
"Because if they play to their true potential I don't see why they cannot. They are really talented boys.
"They got a good defence, so why worry? Just go for it! They must trust their own ability, trust their own skill, and trust whatever strategy they use."