- POSTED: 11 Oct 2013 04:35
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Khairul Amri’s strike after just two minutes was enough to give Singapore a 1-0 win over Laos in a friendly at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
SINGAPORE: Khairul Amri’s strike after just two minutes was enough to give Singapore a 1-0 win over Laos in a friendly at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
The result ended a recent run of three straight losses, although even the most ardent supporter of the national team would question the utility of such a tie as a warm-up for next Tuesday’s 2015 Asian Cup Group A qualifier against Syria.
Singapore national coach Bernd Stange was not wrong to say pre-match that Laos were no pushovers, and despite starting with only one player above the age of 23, the visitors were more than a match for their hosts. Although Singapore dominated possession, they hardly tested the Laotian defence at Jalan Besar, where 1,812 fans watched the game.
The Lions’ starting 11, with eight players eligible for the Dec 11-22 South-east Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar, gave a clear indication of Stange’s priorities as the German handed maiden senior starts to defender Madhu Mohana, midfielders Zulfahmi Arifin, Hafiz Abu Sujad and 17-year-old Adam Swandi in an advanced role.
If the focus is largely on securing a SEA Games medal, Stange and his assistant Aide Iskandar will have the work cut out if all Singapore can show against a team exhausted by playing two games in three days here is a solitary goal.
The introduction of Shaiful Esah, Shahdan Sulaiman and captain Shahril Ishak from the bench at least fulfilled Stange’s pledge that he cannot show the seniors that, with the focus on the SEA Games, their year is largely over.
Shahril, a second-half substitute, breathed some life into the insipid game during his 30-minute cameo. But one wonders how the Lions would fare on Tuesday against Syria, who although only 16 places above Singapore in the world rankings, will provide a far sterner test.
Nonetheless, Stange was generally still satisfied with the overall performance.
“Our performance was not good enough but there is nothing to criticise about the outcome. We achieved what we wanted, a win over Laos that is of the same standard and a combination of young and experienced players sharing the pitch,” he said.
“The players like this style of play and the people like it too. But the problem is to be able to sustain the performance they gave in the first 30 minutes for the entire game, and that’s what we are lacking- fitness for this kind of football.”