Malaysian Super League: Lose to LionsXII, lose face

Perek's Brazillian striker Paulo Rangel (right) at a training session prior to the Malaysian Super League.

MALAYSIA - It may have been his genuine assessment of the LionsXII, or an attempt to heap more pressure.

After describing the Singaporean side as the competition's "best" on Monday, Perak coach Azraai Khor also added that the top-team status would only serve to motivate his men even more.

The two teams meet tonight at Ipoh Stadium in a pivotal moment of the title race, and Azraai said on Monday: "Definitely, the LionsXII are best team in the MSL."

The LionsXII are four points clear of secondplaced Johor Darul Takzim with three games left in the 2013 campaign.

A win over the Seladang tonight means V Sundramoorthy's side could seal the title next Tuesday by beating Felda at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

So Malaysian pride is at stake tonight, according to the Perak coach.

"This is our league. If we let (Singapore) take the trophy, where will we put our faces?" the 60-yearold said.

"As a Malaysian, of course there is certain level of envy seeing the LionsXII do so well against the Malaysian teams. But, on the other hand, we must all learn from what Sundram is doing. All credit to him; in his second year in the MSL, he has done a really great job."

Team vice-captain and centre back, Shahrom Abdul Kalam, made Perak's ambition clear.

"I honestly don't care who wins the title," he admitted. "But if Johor lose against Felda, and the LionsXII beat us here, then a Singapore team would have won the league on our ground. We cannot let that happen."

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