Lions defence under scrutiny

Lions defence under scrutiny

It was their air-tight defence that helped Singapore fend off the Thai onslaught in the second leg of the final to lift the Suzuki Cup last year.

Sparked by a steely defence, the LionsXII stormed to this season's Malaysian Super League title.

Over the last two months, however, the national team defenders, made up largely of LionsXII players, have not been enjoying their outings.

As a unit, they've conceded nine goals in their last three international friendlies - all defeats - including six against China last month.

In the Malaysia Cup, the LionsXII, featuring national defenders Baihakki Khaizan, Safuwan Baharudin, Shakir Hamzah, Faritz Abdul Hameed and goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, shipped 11 goals in eight games.

This included the four against ATM FA last Friday, which saw the Singapore outfit exit the tournament at the quarter- final stage.

It is a worrying run, but Baihakki and Co. are confident of keeping a clean sheet when Bernd Stange's Lions take on Laos in an international friendly on Thursday night at Jalan Besar Stadium.

The 29-year-old, capped 101 times, told The New Paper on Tuesday: "We are not robots. We also feel the effects of knocks and strains, we face pressure in our job and we have to fight the mental strain.

"In football, it's easier to forget missed chances in front of goal than the mistakes that lead to a goal.

"To be honest, we were just not the same level as Oman and China, and China were really on form that night when they beat us 6-1.

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