Tag Archives: Lions

The Philippines’ 2-0 win over Vietnam spells doom for Singapore’s progress in the Suzuki Cup

The reports:

Here are the reports for Singapore’s crucial last-minute win over Myanmar and the Philippines’ shock 2-0 victory over Vietnam.

Both are taken from the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 official website.

My thoughts:

Looks like I got all my predictions in my previous post all wrong.

Unfortunately, while I am happy that Singapore won to keep their hopes in the AFF Suzuki Cup alive, I think the Lions will come to the end of the road in their third and final group match against hosts Vietnam.

Yes, the Philippines did shockingly beat Vietnam 2-0 to throw Group B wide open, but the result now means that Vietnam MUST beat Singapore on Wednesday to advance.

And I really don’t fancy our chances — not after looking at how Vietnam torn Myanmar apart 7-1, and how they played overall despite conceding two dubious-looking goals against the Philippines, and contrasting those performances to Singapore’s displays against the Philippines and Myanmar.

My Dinh Stadium will be packed to the  gills with 40,000 fanactical Vietnam fans on Wednesday – and I cannot fathom the Vietnam team letting their fans down a second time on home soil.

Singapore’s second-half performance against Myanmar offers a glimmer of hope but it means that Raddy Avramovic must really be bold and field the same side that took to the field after the break.

In other words, he  has to axe Noh Alam Shah and Ridhuan Muhammad, both of whom were really poor in the first half.

I don’t understand why Alam Shah is playing so badly. Yesterday, he seemed more interested in spoiling for a fight than playing. This is the fourth game in a row that he’s been poor.

(An aside: I think it is a sad statement about the state of the Lions that we had to be rescued from defeat by Myamnar by two naturalised players, one of whom is a 40-year-old, and the other who was on the bench, whereas two of our top players, who are supposedly stars in the Indonesian Super League, were just so disappointingly anonymous when it came to the crunch).

And let’s keep our fingers crossed that Daniel Bennett recovers from his knee injury in time for Wednesday’s game because the lumbering Precious Emuejeraye is only going to be left exposed time and again by the fleet-footed Vietnamese.

But at the end of the day, I still can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel for the Lions. Once again,  I hope to be proven wrong.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Early exit for S’pore in AFF Suzuki Cup? I wouldn’t bet against it, to be honest.

The report:

Singapore held by Philippines in Suzuki Cup opener

(Channel News Asia, 2 Dec 2010)

By Patwant Singh

HANOI: Singapore started their ASEAN Football Federation (AFF Suzuki Cup) with a 1-1 draw against Philippines in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Three-time winners, Singapore, had plenty of possession and goal-scoring opportunities but lacked the finishing touch to put the match beyond Philippines.

Despite Singapore controlling majority of the possession, Philippines still had the occasional chance at the Singapore goal.

The Lions finally broke the deadlock in the second half with Aleksandar Duric making it 1-0 with a fine header from Noh Alam Shah’s cross.

The Lions missed several chances to extend their lead and were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal.

Philippines’ Chris Greatwitch equalised in injury time to end the match 1-1 after some slack defending from the Lions.

Singapore next plays Myanmar in their second Group B match on Sunday.

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My thoughts:

In case you are not aware, defending champions Vietnam hammered Myanmar 7-1 in the other group game.

And this is what I fear could subsequently happen:

The Lions, feeling disappointed by their 1-1 draw with the Philippines will suddenly feel encouraged and lifted by Vietnam’s thrashing of Myanmar.

A sense of confidence gradually grows as they start thinking: “Hang on, the result isn’t too bad. It’s not as if we lost. We lost two points but at least we still have a point. And if Myanmar was so poor against Vietnam, then surely we can hammer them as well to make up for this.”

But when the increasingly confident Lions face Myanmar, they still fire blanks and are eventually only able to scrape another frustrating draw while the Philippines are beaten by Vietnam.

Then the Lions get all nervous before their make-or-break game against Vietnam. They enter the packed cauldron with a sense of false bravado but are exposed and eventually well  beaten by Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the Philippines beat Myanmar to go through to the next round.

How is this possible?

Well, just remember this – the Philippines had already played three qualifying matches before the group stage. They beat Timor Leste 5-0, drew 2-2 with Laos and 0-0 with Cambodia.

So, in other words, they already have had plenty of opportunity to gel as a team. And as such, I do expect them to get stronger, better and harder to beat as they play more matches.

So who’s to say that they can’t beat Myanmar?  Stranger things have happened in football.

I am really, really hoping this nightmare scenario doesn’t come true.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Asian Cup qualifiers: Singapore outclassed 1-3 by Thailand

Singapore’s hopes of qualifying for the Asian Cup for the first time are now hanging by the slimmest of threads after the Republic was outclassed 1-3 by Thailand at the National Stadium tonight.

Singapore had entered the match a point and a place ahead of the Thais, but now find themselves in third spot in  four-team Group E and two points behind Thailand after tonight’s dismal display.

Only the top two teams from the groups qualify for the Asian Cup.

Thailand’s win now pushes them to the top of the group with five points, one more than Iran, who will play Jordan later tonight.

The Thais, coached by former Manchester United skipper Bryan Robson, had entered tonight’s match with two points after two scoreless draws.

But a superb fluid performance, filled with movement and attacking football,  saw them running Singapore ragged and taking a 3-0 lead before the Lions netted a consolation goal late in the game.

Singapore fell 0-1 as early as the 12th minute after striker Noh Alam Shah was judged to have handled the ball in the Singapore goal area.

Former Tampines Rovers striker Sutee Suksomkit confidently lashed the spot-kick home and the resulting goal virtually changed the complexion of the game.

Forced to chase the game, the Lions were often caught on the counter-attack by the fleet-footed Thais.

To make matters worse, the Singapore defence, led by Baihakki Khaizan, one of four Singapore players now plying their trade in the Indonesia Super League, had a poor day at the office.

Nor did it help matters that striker-in-chief Alam Shah, another one of Singapore’s four Indonesia Super League-based players,  was largely invisible last night.

No surprises then that he was taken off minutes after the break and replaced by Khairul Amri who, to his credit, injected some badly-needed life, pace and urgency into the Singapore attack.

Although the Thais dominated the match, with midfield livewire Datsakorn Thonglao in wonderful distribution form, they failed to convert several more chances before and after the break.

However, former SAFFC striker Therdsak Chaiman made amends in the 75th minute when he ran in unmarked to volley home a cross past Lions goalkeeper Hassan Sunny.

The local fans in the 20,000-strong crowd had a sinking feeling by then. But the nightmare at Kallang didn’t end there.

Baihakki then summed up the Lions’ day when he played Sutee onside in the 81st minute and the winger made no mistake as he slotted past the onrushing Hassan.

Singapore scored a consolation goal after Amri was tripped by a Thai defender on the edge of the box in the 84th minute. Midfielder Mustafic Fahrudin scored but it was too late for Singapore to stage a revival.

As such, the Thais’ time-wasting tactics after that were pretty needless.

Singapore will now travel to Bangkok needing nothing less than a win over the Thais to keep their Asian Cup hopes alive.

But judging from tonight’s display, which will also have dealt them a huge psychological blow, the Lions would do well to hold the in-form Thais to a draw.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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