Match Preview: LionsXII vs Johor FC

The equation is simple for LionsXII against Johor FC as they only need a point at the Jalan Besar stadium on Friday night to qualify for Malaysia Cup quarter final stage.

Qualification seemed secured on match day five for the Singapore side but an injury time goal by Selangor PKNS' Helmi Loussaief put on hold all thoughts of an early celebration.

But that result should not be seen as surprise as coach Sundram had opted for a more defensive mindset for all their away games in the competition which had seen them not registering a single goal on the road.

It’s a totally different ball game at home for LionsXII as they have made full use of their opponent's inability to adapt to the artificial turf at Jalan Besar stadium.

At home, LionsXII have inflicted defeat to both PKNS and Johor FA with Khairul Amri scoring in both matches and Shaiful Esah and Shahril Ishak joining the injury-prone striker on the goal chart.

But Sundram may be forced to look elsewhere for goals against Johor FC as Khairul Amri might miss the game due to a groin injury. Also on the treatment table is Khairul Nizam who will not see any football action until the end of the year.

Captain maestro Shahril Ishak is also nursing an injury albeit a minor one and should be fully fit in time for the crucial do or die game for LionsXII.

It’s not all gloomy for the home fans as Sufian Annuar is fit to spearhead the attack with naturalised striker Agu Casmir.

At the back, LionsXII will once again look towards Baihakki Khaizan, Irwan Shah, Shaiful and probably the most improved player this season, Sevki Sha’ban to keep the opponents from penetrating the attacking third.

Several quarters may have criticised Sundram after their defeat in the previous game for their non-adventurous style of play away from home but expect his side to pull the trigger from all angles as they will not only be seeking for qualification to the next round, but also to end the group stage at the summit.

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