Malaysian FA Cup draw kind to Fandi's LionsXII
Going into their fourth season in Malaysian football, the LionsXII finally have the luck of the draw.
At the Malaysian FA Cup draw conducted by the Football Association of Malaysia over the weekend, the LionsXII found themselves avoiding fellow Malaysian Super League (MSL) teams until the semi-final stage.
The first hurdle Fandi Ahmad's men will face is an away game against third-tier team PB Melayu Kedah at Langkawi on Feb 6 or 7.
They will then meet either of two second-divison sides Putrajaya SPA or Kuantan FA at home if they make it to the Round of 16.
A possible quarter-final encounter against Johor Darul Ta'zim II lies in wait for the LionsXII in the last eight, before they finally taste some action against MSL opponents if they make it to the final four.
LionsXII coach Fandi told The New Paper yesterday: "It's definitely a more favourable draw than last season, when we met Pahang in the Round of 16 and lost to the eventual winners.
"But we won't be taking a win against these lower-division sides for granted, because we could be starting the season quite thin in defence.
"Eventually, the good teams will have to fight it out in these cup competitions, and we will try our best to go as far as we can in the FA Cup."
In previous editions of the FA Cup, the furthest the LionsXII have gone was the quarter-finals in 2012, when they lost 0-1 on aggregate to Terengganu.
The following year, they lost 0-1 to PKNS FC in the first round, before being bundled out by champions Pahang 1-2 earlier this year.
Malaysian FA Cup holders Pahang will have it all to do, as they were drawn against moneybags Johor Darul Ta'zim in the Round of 32 - a repeat of the thrilling Malaysia Cup final which Pahang won 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes.
Other all-MSL ties include Sarawak versus Kelantan, and Felda United versus Selangor.