The FourFourTwo Preview: PDRM FA vs LionsXII
PDRM's chance to avenge that opening day defeat...
PDRM FA Form
- Pahang FA 1-0 PDRM FA (MSL)
- PDRM FA 3-5 Pahang FA (MSL)
- ATM FA 3-1 PDRM FA (MSL)
- PDRM FA 3-1 Terengganu FA (MSL)
- Sime Darby 1-4 PDRM FA (MSL)
- ATM FA 1-1 LionsXII (MSL)
- LionsXII 3-1 ATM FA (MSL)
- Kelantan FA 1-3 LionsXII (FA Cup)
- Terengganu FA 3-2 LionsXII (FA Cup)
- LionsXII 2-1 Terengganu FA (FA Cup)
Just as the LionsXII were about to find some consistency of sorts, they were unexpectedly held by a gritty ATM FA side just this week.
Prior to that disappointing draw in Paroi on Tuesday, they had been on a neat three-match winning run in the league – overcoming Sarawak FA and Sime Darby by one-goal margins, before the 3-1 home win against ATM last Saturday.
However with other results going their way in Matchweek 12, Fandi Ahmad’s side can still improve on their seventh-placing in the 12 team table. They are just a point adrift of the top half and four away from catching up with third-placed Selangor FA.
That should give them some impetus going ahead as they prepare to take on PDRM FA at Shah Alam on Friday night – the third of five games to be played in this packed Ramadan period.
The newly-promoted Cops have been a revelation in the Malaysian Super League (MSL) this season, upsetting the likes of defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim, Kelantan FA and Terengganu FA over along the way as they found themselves at the top of the table.
However it seems like their bubble has burst of late, judging by their current run of three successive defeats. They went down 3-1 to ATM in early May, before suffering 5-3 and 1-0 defeats respectively to Pahang FA over the past week.
The poor run of form has seen them drop four places to fifth, just a point above seventh-placed LionsXII, with a defeat in this upcoming game potentially seeing them plunging further down the standings.
PDRM will definitely not want to be reminded of their 5-3 opening day defeat to the LionsXII at Jalan Besar Stadium in early February.
It has been a taxing schedule for both sides as they will be playing their third game in six days, but don't expect either coach to rest their big guns.
Faris Ramli and Khairul Amri are expected to return to the LionsXII's starting lineup, after coming off the bench against ATM. The duo will relish the chance to add to their respective goal tallies against a leaky PDRM defence, which has let in a league-high 24 goals in 12 games so far despite boasting the likes of Malaysian international defenders Muslim Ahmad and Afif Amiruddin.
However before anyone start to write off the Cops, it is wise to note that they have also scored the highest number of goals to date – with a total tally of 26.
The much-vaunted strikeforce of Ali Ashfaq and Dramane Traore has contributed 17 goals, making them the key men to stop if the LionsXII want to return to winning ways.
Of course they will also need to stop the midfield supply coming from the hard-running Mohamadou Sumareh and former Sporting Lisbon trainee Jaime Bragança, who was recently signed in the April transfer window.
Key Battle: Dramane Traore vs Madhu Mohana
If one has to pick out a particular duel which could prove decisive in this clash, it could well be this blockbuster clash between Traore and Madhu.
The former has in red-hot form since signing from Ukrainian outfit Metalurh Donetsk in the off-season, scoring a total of 14 goals in all competitions. 11 of those have come in the league, which makes him the current top scorer – three more than Perak FA’s Chad Souza and Terengganu’s Paulo Rangel.
Not many defenders in the league have an answer to handling the 1.92m Malian’s threat in the air and ability to finish off the slightest of chances, and it will be interesting to see how Madhu fares.
The Singaporean defender will be plenty fired up, after being harshly penalised for a trip on Jerry Palacios which led to his side dropping two points against ATM.
In coach Fandi’s opposite dugout will be the well-respected figure of Azman Adnan, who was widely compared to the late Mokhtar Dahari in his heyday. Popularly known as one of the most prolific Malaysian strikers in the 1990s, he is now completing his transition to coaching – with this being his first full season in charge of PDRM.
It has not been easy filling in the shoes of Dollah Salleh, who left to take charge of the Malaysia national team after winning last season’s Malaysian Premier League (MPL). However, the 43-year-old has managed to drill the Cops into a cohesive unit so far which has the quality to take down some bigger guns on their day.
Facts and Figures
- Both sides have only met once in history, with the LionsXII triumphing 5-3 at Jalan Besar in early February this year.
- The LionsXII are now on a four-match unbeaten run in the league, while PDRM have lost their last three.
- PDRM have won three and lost two at home this season, while the LionsXII have only won one away game in seven – drawing three and losing three.
- PDRM have yet to draw any games this season (six wins and six losses), while the LionsXII have the most draws in the league with five.
FFT.com Editor Zee Ko: I'm tipping the LionsXII to get back to winning ways. More gloom for PDRM in a 1-3 loss.
Kenneth Tan: A 1-1 draw. The LionsXII have showed signs of jadedness of late and that could spell trouble against one of the best attacking sides in the league. However they should have enough in their tank to hold out for a point.
The Straits Times’ Deepanraj Ganesan: 2-2. Lionsxii will not be at their best after having to play two matches in the space of three days but with PDRM not in the best of forms, LionsXII can get away with a point.
Yahoo Sports’ Teng Kiat: 1-2 to the LionsXII. PDRM will not be pushovers at home but the LionsXII were a tad unfortunate not to win on Tuesday. With Faris and Amri ready to inject freshness in attack, Fandi's men should return with the three points. A bonus tip: Gabriel Quak to get the winner.
Voxsports’ Nigel Chin: 0-2 to the LionsXII. After a draw that was marred by refereeing decisions, Fandi's charges will be keen to bounce back immediately and carry on their rise in the league. Nizam and Amri are both overdue for a goal. Against a side that have the worst defence in the league, do not put it past the brothers to get one apiece.