Lions on the prowl for goals

Singapore (pic) versus Thailand group match of Suzuki Cup at the National Stadium.

Off crosses and corners, in tight spaces and from the top of the box, the Lions worked on little else at the Jurong West Stadium yesterday, except putting the ball in the back of the net.

They fell 1-2 to Thailand in their opening AFF Suzuki Cup Group B fixture, and it was evident that coach Bernd Stange is determined to get his charges sharper before tonight's must-win clash against Myanmar at the National Stadium.

"We have to work doubly hard, and cover double the distance that we normally do," said in-form striker Khairul Amri, who is poised to lead the Lions front-line again tonight.

"This is a do-or-die game, and we will go all out to score."

Amri was outstanding against Thailand, scoring the Republic's only goal and always giving his teammates an outlet with his tireless running, while skipper Shahril Ishak provided good support behind him.

The Lions missed a few chances on Sunday, and Shahril fluffed a gilt-edged opportunity, but he insisted that such profligacy will not be repeated.

"Amri did well, but we can't just depend on him. We need the whole team (to be tuned in to scoring)," said the Singapore captain.

"Faris Ramli missed some chances, and I did too. But I'm confident that if we create the right kind of chances (tonight), we will score."

Deployed on the right of an attacking trio behind Amri, young and talented centre forward Sahil Suhaimi looked uncomfortable, and the 22-year-old could lose his starting spot to Home United striker Fazrul Nawaz.


Said the 29-year-old: "I'm always ready when called upon. And whether I'm starting or on the bench, I will always give my 100 per cent."

Under former Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic, Fazrul was deployed in attacking roles across the pitch, and he could well replicate that role again.

"If I am picked, I will work for the team, be aggressive and hopefully, get goals," he said.

But Shahril warned that it will not be an easy task against a Myanmar side led by Avramovic, who is known for his knack of instilling organisation and discipline in his teams.

"This is a different Myanmar from what we've seen in the past. Now they play more as a unit, and it won't be easy," said the 30-year-old.

"We need to score and I believe in the boys. But we must be patient, that's key."

Like a number of players in the Singapore team, Avramovic gave striker Amri his first cap.

The Myanmar coach will know there are three things that Amri does when he puts the ball in the back of the net: smile, pump one fist, and point at the provider of the pass, and he does this even during training drills.

There was a lot of that at Jurong West last night, and Amri is bursting at the seams to do the same tonight at the National Stadium, although Avramovic will fear it.

"I believe we can beat Myanmar," said the Singapore forward, still buzzing after his efforts.

"If you ask me, on our best days, we can even take on teams from the Middle East."

This article was first published on Nov 26, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.