Singapore ready to go: Stange

Singapore ready to go: Stange

Conceding two goals against South-east Asian minnows Cambodia is hardly the best way to prepare for a clash against the fearsome attack of Thailand but Singapore coach Bernd Stange is far from worried.

After watching his side beat Cambodia 4-2 at the Yishun Stadium last night, the German believes his team are ready for their AFF Suzuki Cup opener against the Thais on Sunday.

Said Stange: "Two comfortable wins in a row, by two-goal (margins), it gives us a lot of confidence to prepare for the coming Suzuki Cup. The players are happy, they gave everything and we are ready to go."

On conceding twice against Cambodia, he hinted he was not pleased with his defence.

"I have to admit the first-half was for spectators only.

"It means absolutely nothing for coaches," Stange said.

"We allowed two goals (from) four chances, it was something we had to correct, which we did at half-time, and Cambodia had zero chances in the second-half."

Cambodia also found joy exploiting the space behind Singapore's two attacking full-backs but Stange remained unperturbed. He said: "They are overlapping, that is the style we play, and we will continue this way."

The victory follows Singapore's 2-0 win over Laos at the same venue last Thursday.

Khairul Amri, who scored the second goal against Laos last week, opened the scoring yesterday, volleying home from a Shahril Ishak cross in the ninth minute.

That was followed by a crazy 11-minute spell which saw five goals scored.

Cambodia's Khuon Laburavy equalised for his team in the 27th minute but Faris Ramli put the home side back in front with his first international goal.

Laburavy levelled for the visitors again, only for captain Shahril to put the Lions ahead, slotting home after Shaiful Esah's free-kick cannoned off the post.

Defender Safuwan Baharudin sealed the win with Singapore's fourth goal, spinning and shooting inside the box.

Off the pitch, ex-Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic was spotted in the VIP area, keenly observing the team he helped guide to three ASEAN titles.

Sporting a grey jacket and wearing his trademark grim expression, Avramovic, now coach of Myanmar, was busy plotting the demise of his former team.

Even before kick-off, the Serbian had already prepared diagrams of football pitches on the back of the match's start-list.

He noted down the Lions' formation and seemed to pay particular attention to their passing patterns and set-piece routines.

He embraced several Singapore players after the match and also spoke briefly with Stange.

But Avramovic played down his side's chances, saying: "The Singapore team is experienced. Seven of the starting line-up played in the last Suzuki Cup.

"It will be very hard for us but we must try to compete. This is a group of (Suzuki Cup) champions and we have to rely on teamwork, not individuals."

siangyee@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Nov 18, 2014.
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