[WCQ2018] Toothless Lions should have done better in 2-1 win over Cambodia

Lions (red) failed to capitalize the possessionHonestly, things were looking bright from the start before the lack of bite in front of goal saw Singapore walked away with a narrow 2-1 win over Cambodia in the joint World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers played at Kallang last evening.

Several changes were made in this fixture with the notable absentees from the Lions’ start list such as Shahril Ishak, Fazrul Nawaz, etc. making way for the returning of Hariss Harun (as skipper), Safuwan Baharudin from suspension alongside the introduction of Faris Ramli and Sahil Suhaimi in the starting eleven.

Hariss Harun (left) was named as skipper at the startSafuwan Baharudin (21) played in advancing positionThe transformation from the lacklustre outing against Afghanistan was clearly for all to see with the Lions showing more fluency in their offenses by placing Safuwan in an more advancing position while maintaining the backline duo of Baihakki Khaizan and Madhu Mohana.

However, the domination of the game didn’t result any early goal until the 16th minute when winger Faris Ramli sneaked in to claim the first blood in 16th minute.

The Republic would have doubled the lead minutes before the break but only to see Khairul Amri’s effort palmed away by the Khmers’ custodian from the spot.

While it was a lifeline for the visitors but not so for the home side to see the Lions XII striker stretchered out due to hamstring injury.

Khairul Amri (front) pulled his hamstring after this penalty attemptAs a natural replacement, in came Fazrul to take the role vacated by Amri at the start of the second half which took only three minutes for the Warriors FC’s star to prove his role as a goal poacher with his strike in the 48th minute.

The promising start after the interval, however, failed to shackle the floodgates many in the 9,417 wanted to see, despite the continuing possession enjoyed by the men in red throughout the evening.

Things were left in tender hooks when Cambodia reduced the deficit in the 66th minute through Sos Suhana from close range.

That tells the different of having a goal and a two-goal difference after that slip-up at the Lions’ backline which motivated the Cambodians to press forward but failed to grab that elusive equalizer.

Fazrul Nawaz (right) drifted back in wing after he scoredSo one could image the breathe of relief exhaled by Lions’ Coach Bernd Stange at the end of the match following a five-minute of injury time added on.

“We have achieved ten points (after four matches) we targeted for and I see this as something positive.” addressed the German coach in his media meet-up in which he also paid tribute to the players, backroom staff and the fans for tonight’s win.

“While I understand there will be pressure from the media and the fans after this win, but that would be my job to take those pressure so as to allow the players to play their game and it will be extremely difficult to play our next two games against both Japan and Syria that we have to play much better than our past few games.” he continued amid a sense of continuing scepticism felt in the press conference. get your instant update of this Blog!!