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It's not kids' football after all for the Iraqis

Apparently the Iraqis did not play like as what suggested by some being "kids' footballers" following the remark on the artificial surface of the Jalan Besar Stadium by their coach, Zico prior to the match.

In fact, the visiting side looked fairly comfortable on the plastic surface with much of the attacking play by them in the first half.

One of Safuwan's (no 2) heroics - foiled Nashat Akram from advance
Whereas the hosts - Singapore were confined largely in their defensive third to absorb those threats from the Middle-Easterners with young upstart Safuwan Baharudin gave another good account of himself to defray much of the threat in the first 45 minutes.

Not the same thing can be said about the attacking upfront though for the Lions.

Some flashes of brilliance were shown with Qiu Li making some inroads from the left flank to unsettle the Iraqis backline in the first half.

SAFFC's Fazrul Nawaz (no 10) replaced Qiu Li at start of second half
All these penetrating runs came to a standstill when some online feedback suggested the replacement of Qiu had dried up the supply upfront for evergreen Aleksandar Duric and skipper Shahril Ishak.

At the end of the day, the visitors proved to the more impressive side and gifted themselves with two goals (by Ala'a Abdulzehra in the 49th minute and skipper Younus Mahmood in the 86th minute) to anchor Singapore at the foot of the group after their second successive defeats.

It was a much relieved Arthur Antunes Coimbra, otherwise widely known as Zico, who greeted the media after the match.

Iraq's coach Zico addresses the media after the match.
"I'm very happy with the three points, as my players achieved what was expected from them." said the Brazilian coach whose moaning of the artificial surface had been hogging the headlines around the region.

"In this game, we created many opportunities and I'm also glad that we played well on this surface when in the place my players did not know how to play on it.

"As this was our second game in seven days and I know my players wanted to win this match, while at the meantime, I felt Singapore lacked the concentration tonight as compared to what I saw them against China on video."opined the Flamengo legend who is also a cult figure in Kashima region in Japan for his association with local J-League club Kashima Antler.

Due to the touchline ban meted out on him, Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic did not make his presence at the post-match press conference and nor did he stop for a word with media as he headed straight to the team coach waited outside at the ground after the game.

Aleksandar Duric speaks to the media at the "mixed zone"
 "I think we let them had too much space that they had a few shots (against us) in the first half which I think it was a good for us to stay 0-0 for the first 45 minutes, but the second half we made one mistake that allowed them to punish us." said Duric who spoke to the waiting media in the designated "mixed zone" outside the stadium before heading to the team coach.



  1. The Lions had some good movements at times but they struggled in general. I felt Isa Halim also had a good account of himself in the absence of Hariss Harun though he lacks the presence of the latter. The good thing is that they did not crumble or give the game away easily and I think that bodes well for the remaining games.

  2. Reinstall the natural turf back to Jalan Besar please..

  3. Hi Anonymous,

    I think it's very unlikely given the lack of stadium and furthermore JBS is the main stadium for football in Singapore.

    Unless the new national stadium that would be one option.


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