Young Lions set for first kill
HARIMAU MUDA B v COURTS YOUNG LIONS
(Tonight, 8.45pm, Pasir Gudang Stadium)
With just one point and no wins between them after seven rounds of S.League matches, Courts Young Lions and Harimau Muda B are in an unenviable position.
The developmental teams from either side of the Causeway will meet at Pasir Gudang tonight, hoping to break this unwanted streak.
And it is the Young Lions who look most likely to collect their first win after coming close on many occasions.
Other than their 2-2 draw with Woodlands Wellington, they have lost by the odd goal to defending champions Tampines Rovers (3-2), Geylang International (1-0), Tanjong Pagar (3-2) and Albirex Niigata (2-1).
The Young Tigers, on the other hand, have lost five matches by at least three goals.
Young Lions striker Sahil Suhaimi - who will be making only his second start after finally passing the 2.4km running test - feels bullish about his team's chances, as well as opening his account tonight.
The 21-year-old said: "Personally, the two-month lay-off did affect my form, and I still haven't hit top gear yet. But I'm always confident of scoring.
"As a team, we are confident. The team spirit is there and, with better luck, we could have had more points.
"When a Singaporean team meet a Malaysian team, there will always be a fierce rivalry and fireworks.
"If we can improve on not conceding easy goals, we can win this match."
With eight goals in seven matches, their scoring rate is not far from teams such as 10th-placed Tanjong Pagar (eight in eight), eighth-placed Woodlands Wellington (nine in eight) and fifth-placed Albirex (10 in eight).
And Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar agrees that more work needs to be done with the defence.
The 38-year-old said: "Except for our first match, we have scored in every game and created numerous chances.
"But I'm not satisfied with our defending, which we need to improve.
"It is frustrating that a first win has taken so long to come because we should have already done so in our first five games.
"However, nerves and a lack of experience caused us to concede in the last 10 minutes in some games.
"We're missing experience at the back after losing Afiq Yunos and Raihan Rahman (both to LionsXII) this season. Our new centre backs will need time to gel.
"We are working really hard to stay focused for the entire game, in order to win matches.
"We won't be taking Harimau Muda B lightly as we know they are capable of springing surprises and they are also as hungry as us in wanting to record a first win."
When a Singaporean team meet a Malaysian team, there will always be a fierce rivalry and fireworks. If we can improve on not conceding easy goals, we can win this match.
— Young Lions striker Sahil Suhaimi