For The Record...
"In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore, Zainudin (Nordin, FAS President) reiterated that the S-league will not become a "poorer cousin" once the LionsXII start their Malaysia Cup campaign."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

AFF Suzuki Cup - Lions braced for a Tough Derby after a tattered 4-2 win over Myanmar

Hariss's double raised the roof of Kallang
Singapore salvaged their AFF Suzuki Cup title defending hopes with a nail-biting 4-2 win over Myanmar at Kallang last evening.

Much of talks before the game surrounded the White Angels' Serbian coach, Raddy Avramovic, for his familiarity of the team that were largely groomed by him for a near decade before he stepped down after leading the Lions to their fourth Asean title in 2012.

It was probably that familiarity that had the Myanmarese came back strongly in the second half to narrow the gap to a goal deficit after trailing three-nil before the interval.

As explained by Coach Raddy in the post-match media conference.

"The plan was to keep Singapore off our field in the first half and attack them in the second," said the former Notts County custodian.

"I thought we conceded three easy goals and with this result, we will have a difficult game against Thailand (on this Friday) and it's Christmas came early for Singapore (with this win), but it also shown my team can compete with the rest (in Asean)."

Sahil Suhaimi (32) closed up on Kyaw Zayae Win (7)
However, judging from other factors that came along with the hard fought win, it's still too early to say if Santa Claus has already delivered as what Coach Raddy claimed.

First and foremost will see defence lynchpin Baihakki Khaizan sit out of the penultimate showdown against Malaysia after collected his second yellow of the tournament that warranted a match suspension, following by that saw Shahdan Sulaiman suffered a fractured right ankle as the result of a nasty collision in the box with Khairul Amri in the 20th minute.

Baihakki is out for the next game with this yellow 
Shahdan (sit on ground) fractured his ankle 
Tampines Rovers' Ismadi Mukhtar was on the casualty list too for a strained groin that ruled him out of action just minutes before the end of the first half.

In spite of the mishaps that had taken place and overshadowed the Lions' first ever international win in the new National Stadium, Coach Bernd Stange remained unfazed and kept his trademark optimism in his meeting with the press after the match.

"We have to find a way to fill up the hole left behind by Baihakki," said the German tactician on the impact of not having the 30-year-old defender available on this coming Saturday's Causeway Derby match against the Harimau Malaya.

"Also Shahdan who is definitely out for the rest of the year (for the fractured ankle), but we shall see how it goes first thing tomorrow morning,

"We will have to stay positive and focused all our thoughts on recovery for the game against Malaysia." added Coach Stange.

Goal mouth action in second half
Amri on the ball 
A victory against their fiercest rivals from across the Causeway is a must for the Lions should they harbour any thoughts of making to the semi-final stages, despite the adversity the team are facing which Coach Stange insisted he has a "strong squad" in the disposal to tide things over.

Which one of which the things he may need to fine tune is the inconsistency in the display during the match that he described a "game of two halves" that saw the designated away side scored a brace in the first period with goals from Shaiful Esah in the 15th minute that totalled up with a double by Hariss Harun in the 35th and 41st minute.

Zul Arifin (C) could tag up with Hariss (R)
"3-2" as Kyaw Zayae Win converted the penalty
Buoyed by their partisan supporters, Myanmar fought back to reduce the deficit 10 minutes after the restart with a Kyaw Zayar Win's effort from inside the box and a spot kick converted successfully in the 62nd minute by Kyaw Ko Ko.

Just as it thought the fighting spirit of the Myanmarese will carry them forward, an own goal by Khin Maung Lwin in 75th minute placed a two-goal cushion for the Lions till the end of the match.
Lions shown appreciation after the win 

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