Pahang striker Dickson Nwakaeme will be counted upon to deliver the goals in the match against Lions XII on Tuesday. - BERNAMA
PETALING JAYA: Super League leaders Pahang have been warned not to let their guard down when they play youthful Lions XII at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on Tuesday.
Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan said they should be cautious of their tricky opponents.
“It is always difficult to play against a bunch of young boys,” said Zainal although his men have beaten the
Singaporean side twice this season, including a 2-1 win in the FA Cup second round at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Feb 1.
The former international said Lions XII, coached by ex-Singapore international striker Fandi Ahmad, were no pushovers as their earlier victories over the defending champions did not come easy.
“This team (Lions XII) is stronger than the 2013 title-winning side. They are making a strong impact despite their lack of experience. We cannot allow them to dictate terms ... we need to settle down fast on the artificial pitch,” said Zainal.
Pahang’s first win over the Singaporean side was in the opening match of the season for the Charity Shield at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan on Jan 18. Pahang won 1-0 with Argentine striker Matias Conti on target.
A fortnight later, Pahang again emerged victorious with a 2-1 win in the FA Cup with Mohd Hafiz Kamal and Azidan Saruddin scoring two late goals.
Ron Smith was the man in charge when Pahang registered both wins. The Australian, however, parted ways with the Pahang FA in early March and Zainal was named head coach.
Since then, Pahang have gone undefeated under Zainal. They have won all their seven matches, including securing a berth in the FA Cup semi-finals against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) next month.
As for Lions XII, they will be hoping to make amends after losing 1-0 at home to Sime Darby FC last week.