Gabriel Quak stares into the abyss

SINGAPORE UNDER-23 1 (Sahil Suhaimi 23)

HOUGANG 1 (K Saseetharan 56)

Singapore Under-23 winger Gabriel Quak was in tears after on Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Hougang at the Toa Payoh Stadium.

It was not because of the pain suffered from his pulled hamstring.

Quak was forced to contemplate missing out on next month's SEA (South-east Asia) Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.

Quak, on as a substitute in the second half, stretched for the ball in the 78th minute and felt a snap in his right thigh.

Seconds later, the 22-year-old was on the ground, writhing in pain before he was stretchered off the pitch.

Quak had to be helped by his teammates from the dressing room to the team bus after the match.

"It still hurts pretty bad," said the LionsXII winger, who scored the second goal in the national team's 2-1 Asian Cup qualifying win over Syria last month.

"But in the dressing room, I wasn't crying because of the pain. It's the thought of missing out on the SEA Games.

"This is my last Games, and now I don't know if I'll play."

Quak will undergo an ultra-scan on his thigh today.

Team physiotherapist Nurhafizah Abu Sujad told The New Paper that he could be out from two to six weeks, depending on the grade of the tear.

The Under-23s, who have targeted a place in the final, will leave for Myanmar on Dec 3 and open their SEA Games campaign in a Group A clash against Laos five days later.

"If it's more than two weeks, I'll be out," said Quak.

The U23s started last night's friendly with a near full-strength team.

They took the lead after 23 minutes when Faris Ramli crossed for Sahil Suhaimi to tap home.

S-League outfit Hougang equalised through their only chance of the match, when trialist K Saseetharan slid the ball home from close range in the 56th minute off a right-wing cross.

The U23s had the lion's share of possession, but failed to convert a hatful of chances - with Sahil guilty of three glaring misses.

Captain Hariss Harun also had a glorious chance in the second half when he raced past the Hougang defence, but with only the goalkeeper to beat, the 22-year-old was caught in two minds and failed to get a shot off.

Overall, Singapore Under-23 coach Aide Iskandar was pleased with the performance, save for the poor finishing.

He said: "Our end product could've been better and we need to work on that.

"I tried something a little different this game, to allow midfielders Zulfahmi (Arifin) and Hariss to push up a bit more.

"Players in that position have to help attack and be a source of goals. I believe the goals will come, and we'll be ready before we leave for Myanmar."

Instructed to push forward at every opportunity, Hariss is relishing the challenge.

"I want the responsibility of being a goalscorer," the skipper and midfield inspiration said.

"As captain, I have to help the team in any way I can.

"We have good wingers who, if used the right way, can produce goals.

"They just have to be a bit more aggressive and get into goalscoring positions. They have to have more of a desire to score."


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