Fandi trying to rebuild the castle wall

Fandi trying to rebuild the castle wall
LionsXII in their march for the Malaysian Super League
LionsXII reacting to the Sime Darby's goal by Syukur Saidin (not in pic). LionsXII play Sime Darby FC in the Malaysian Super League at Jalan Besar Stadium, April 12, 2014.

SINGAPORE - Dead-ball situations proved a reliable source of goals for the LionsXII in their march to the Malaysian Super League (MSL) title last season but are now proving to be a big source of danger.

While the team have continued to profit from set-plays - bagging eight of the 18 goals in 14 games through this method - they have also been punished by opponents in similar circumstances.

Eight out of 15 goals conceded have come from dead-ball deliveries - a rate slightly above 50 per cent.

Last year, only six goals out of the 15 let in over the entire season were a consequence of set-plays.

This month, two goals from corner kicks consigned the LionsXII to 0-1 defeats against Sime Darby and Selangor while a free kick for T-Team helped them earn a 1-1 draw in March.

"We are losing concentration at the key moments, and end up ball-watching when opponents attack the set-piece deliveries and score," said coach Fandi Ahmad who is advocating a free-flowing style to replace the pragmatic tack favoured by predecessor V. Sundramoorthy last year.

"The players need to focus more and remember their duties in set-plays better."

Fandi said the only way to get things right now is to constantly practise defending against set-plays in training.

Defender Afiq Yunos, who conceded the free-kick against T-Team that led to the equaliser, said there was an urgent need to correct the shortcoming.

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