These were thoughts racing through my head as I watched the Lions against Vietnam tonight. Thought I’d share them with you:
1. Singapore contrived to put up one of its shittiest displays of football tonight and amazingly, still escaped with a 0-0 draw from Hanoi. Someone up there must seriously like us.
2. This Vietnam team was several notches superior to the sides that lost 0-2 to Thailand and scraped a 3-2 win over Malaysia n the group stage. Tonight, the Vietnamese were seriously scary tonight and practically ran rings around the Lions. I was particularly impressed with their precise and slick passing. In the end, the Viets were let down by bad luck and poor finishing. If they had taken their chances, they would have won by least 2-0 tonight.
3. Our midfield was non-existent tonight. I was stunned to see huge unguaded swathes of green being handed on a platter to the Viets whenever they counter-attacked.
4. Which brings me to my next point – Isa Halim may be a promising youngster to watch out for in future, but he was poor and clearly out of his depth tonight. However, I was even more perplexed that national coach Raddy Avramovic never brought on John Wilkinson at all. Which, in turn, ominously suggests one thing – that the Englishman-turned-Singaporean is injured and Avramovic doesn’t ant anyone to know about this.
5. Skipper-striker Indra Sahdan was a ghost all night and was rightfully replaced by Noh Alam Shah who added a new sense of urgency, aggression and bite to the Lions’ attack. But he, in turn, was let down by a lumbering Agu Cashmir, who, judging from the way he struggled to chase after the ball tonight, gave new credence to the rumour that he is actually a lot older than his stated age.
6. The only other player, apart from Alam Shah, who impressed tonight, was Lionel Lewis who was a beacon of calm, inspiration and bravery with his command of the air and the way he courageously dived to save a spilt ball before the Vietnamese striker could get to it. Imagine: such was the speed and ferocity with which the Viet striker came charging in to pounce on the spilt ball that Lewis would have definitely suffered a major head injury if contact had been made.
7. I really hope that Avramovic finds a replacement for defender Precious Emuejeraye soon. He is slow and easily beaten on the turn and cannot compete against speedy strikers. His clear lack of all these essential qualities was one of the reasons why the Viets enjoyed such a purple patch in attack in the first half.
8. Right winger Muhammad Ridhuan was crap tonight. I realy don’t now why Avramovic persists in picking him when his ball control is so poor and he offers so little on the pitch. Even less when it comes to attack. Erm, if I am not mistaken, wingers are expected to contribute in goal-scoring, right?
9. Second-last point – tonight’s Lions side featured five naturalized citizens: Daniel Bennett, Shi Jiayi, Mustafic Fahrudin, Agu and Precious. And we played like shit and were torn apart by Vietnam. Which makes me shudder to think how completely destroyed the Lions would have been if the team had been filled with all local players instead. Yes, such is the sad state of Singapore football. It was paraded for all to see in Hanoi and on our television screens tonight.
10. Which brings me to my last point: is this the best football we can dish out even with five naturalised citizens, supposedly among the best players in the S-League? *SHUDDER*
Note: Singapore takes on Vietnam in the return leg at the National Stadium this Sunday.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan