Singapore Football

Sufian under the spotlight

After his teammates were done with training yesterday, LionsXII striker Sufian Anuar continued to practise his finishing with coach Fandi Ahmad, who threw the ball at him in various trajectories and at different speeds.

With top striker Khairul Amri ruled out with a fractured cheekbone, Sufian has been entrusted with the main responsibility of getting the goals tonight against Pahang in a Malaysia Cup Group A game the LionsXII need to win, after their insipid 0-0 draw with Felda United last Wednesday.

Speaking to The New Paper later, Fandi said: "It's important for Sufian to be composed. Hold the ball well and the midfield will help him out.

"Sufian is strong, mobile and aggressive. He will need to be at his best also in terms of finishing when he goes up against a big centre back like Damion Stewart.

"We know he will give 100 per cent and we hope he can score a couple of goals for us, as well."

Sufian declined to talk about the match yesterday.

The 26-year-old forward told TNP: "Sorry ah bro, I rather talk after the game, okay?"

His desire to maintain focus on the match is understandable.

The lack of goals has been Fandi's bugbear all season - the LionsXII scored six goals fewer in this year's Malaysian Super League (MSL) than last season - and all eyes will be on whether Sufian can score his team's first goal in this Malaysia Cup campaign.

Sufian definitely has the potential, after grabbing a 15-minute hat-trick when the LionsXII beat Pahang 4-1 in their last encounter in the MSL in April.

Midfielder Raihan Rahman said: "We have to score and we have faith in Sufian. But it's not fair to depend only on him. All of us need to chip in. At the moment, we'll take any goal from any player if it helps us win the game."

- DAVID LEE