|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Teng Kiat
After seeing his side beat Malaysian Super League leaders Pahang FA in a comprehensive 3-0 victory on Saturday night, LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy declared himself happy with the confidence shown by his players.
"They are trying to pass the ball and trying to play - that is important [because] the fans came here [tonight] and they really enjoyed the passing game and the goals," a visibly pleased Sundram explained.
"We didn't expect to beat Pahang by three goals, and I feel that the boys have done a great job."
Sundram pointed out that they had worked on how to cope with the fast-paced and technical nature of Pahang's attacking play in training, but admitted that their opponents could have made life more difficult if they had taken their own chances.
The former Singapore international was also happy with the fluidity of his team's own attack, which had the crowd roaring in appreciation with some delightful build-up play.
"The players we brought in like Faris [Ramli], Zul[fahmi Arifin] and Shahfiq Ghani were linking up well with Shahril [Ishak] and on the left with Fazrul [Nawaz]. With the support from Hariss [Harun] when he came in [for an injured Isa Halim], there was a balance [to our play]," Sundram noted.
"Shahril is good when he has the service [from his teammates] and [with] the ball at his feet, so he needs to come back to pick up the ball and start the attack."
The ex-Courts Young Lions duo of Faris and Zulfahmi, who were given their debuts in this game, are part of a large crop of 'talented' young players in the team, and Sundram believes they simply need more time to get better and perform on a more consistent basis.
"I am not very surprised [with their good performances] and I have faith in them," he asserted. "One game doesn't make a season, but there are positive signs.
The LionsXII will meet a star-studded Johor Darul Takzim side led by former Spain striker Dani Guiza next, but Sundram is bullish about their chances against them.
"Our boys are going to go there and compete with Johor and I think we have every chance to beat them," he firmly said, before adding that he was confident of doing well in the league as well.
"It is still early days but as long as we go away and don’t get beaten and [also] keep our home record, I think we have every chance of finishing in the top five."