Faris wants to add to tally after goal-scoring return

LionsXII winger Faris Ramli is looking to keep up his scoring form when his side take on defending champions and leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) at Larkin on Wednesday night.

Four days ago, a half-fit Faris showed how important he was to the LionsXII’s cause by scoring two goals in their stunning 4-2 win against title contenders Pahang FA.

The 22-year-old, who missed the 4-2 midweek defeat to Terengganu FA due to a shin injury, needed little time to ease back into the team.

First he superbly controlled Nazrul Nazari’s flick-on in mid-air before clipping a neat finish past Pahang keeper Khairul Azhan Khalid for the opener, then proceeded to score his second and his side’s third with a deflected snapshot from the edge of the area.

That two strikes mean Faris has gone into double figures for the first time in a season, something which he is visibly pleased with as he helped the LionsXII to return to winning ways.

“This was one of the sweetest returns for me,” he told FourFourTwo.

“Again and again, I’ve been getting injuries and knocks here and there. It was such a bad knock from the previous home game (against Felda United) which means I cannot even feature in the 18-man matchday squad against Terengganu.

“In that game, the boys fought very hard but the result didn’t come our way. That’s why I was quite ‘itchy’ to come back in and help the team win again. Even though I wasn’t fully fit, coach Fandi believed in me, the team believed in me and most importantly I believed in myself.

“That’s why I came back strongly and we got the result that we wanted.”

The tough games keep on coming for the LionsXII as they next take on pacesetters JDT in Larkin on Wednesday night.

The Southern Tigers not only have an immaculate record of nine wins out of nine at home so far this season, but is also the best defensive team in the league by letting in just 11 goals in 18 games.

However Faris believes the LionsXII should have nothing to fear after an emphatic display against Pahang.

“Of course it’ll be hard, given that they’re the current league leaders,” he said.

“For sure they’re fighting to stay in top spot, but we’re also fighting for a top-four position which can help us be seeded for the upcoming Malaysia Cup.

“We’ve showed against Pahang that if we play and fight as a team, we’re one team to be reckoned with. For myself, I just want to keep on scoring and help us climb up the table.”  

The LionsXII have not lost at Larkin for the past couple of seasons, drawing 2-2 on both occasions.

In 2013, Baihakki Khaizan and Hariss Harun put the Singaporeans ahead but JDT replied each time via goals from Simone Del Nero and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.

Last season, Luciano Figueroa and Pablo Aimar scored to put JDT 2-0 up at half time but quick-fire goals from Khairul Amri and Hafiz Sujad in the second half secured the LionsXII a point.