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Saturday, June 16, 2012

More mature S'pore will face Sabah, says Sundram
by Mohamed Shamir 
Irwan Shah of the Lions XII squad.
 SINGAPORE - It was a blood-and-guts spectacle at the Likas Stadium the last time these two sides met in the Malaysian Super League (MSL) on Jan 21. Sabah gave the LionsXII a real welcome to Malaysian football, throwing a high boot, an elbow, a punch and even firecrackers at V Sundramoorthy's charges, who dug deep to escape with a 1-0 win.

 Tonight at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Sundram insists it will be a different game, but the LionsXII -now having grown up in the MSL, and more mature - are looking for a similar end result. Irwan Shah was sent off in that match, along with Sabah's Mafry Balang, leaving both sides playing with 10 men for almost an hour.

 "He was hitting me and I retaliated. But this time I won't make the same mistake again. I will make sure I last the 90 minutes," said the 23-year-old. "Don't get me wrong, I will continue to put in hard challenges… we can't have opponents taking advantage of us out on the pitch. "But there will be no revenge or anything of that sort on my mind.

I've learnt a lot since then." That is that same attitude that Sundram is looking for, as he gave the LionsXII a light training session at Jalan Besar last night, with players having free rein near the end, some getting massages while others fine-tuned their shooting.

 "The players must enjoy what they're doing so they can deliver," Sundram said, adding: "It will be a different game (unlike the physical encounter in Likas), we need to play the way we want to play, but with commitment." Shamir Osman

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