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"I still want to take your picture, Good Luck..."

Latiff (yellowed jersey) started this AFC match
Ahmad Latiff Khamarudin made his much awaited start of the season on local soil for Tampines Rovers that caught many by surprise in their AFC Cup fixture against Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) of Vietnam.

Still yet to clear the mandatory beep test which the ace midfielder failed earlier of the day for the eighth time, the decision left many puzzled over the decision by Stags' coach Steven Tan.

Given the fact that Latiff is due for his last chance two days later, would it be a wise decision to risk the well-being of the man who almost single-handedly won their the league title last year?

SLNA's Hector (in white) shown pace but clumsy at finishing.
"Latiff wanted to play." said coach Tan at the post-match press conference following the goal-less draw with the defending Vietnamese league champions that placed them at the foot of Group F after Kitchee SC notched their second continental win by beating Terengganu earlier.

"We just have to keep our fingers crossed, with recovery and hope he (Latiff)can pass (the beep test).

"But I believe we have players who are capable to step in just as well." added the former national striker seemingly hinted that he already has his backup plan in event that things don't work out for his talismanic winger.

Stags' skipper Alek Duric yet to break his continent duck
It was indeed a gusto display by the 1998 Tiger Cup winner on the field with his constant pricking opening act on the Vietnamese defence line that saw twice in the second half having the framework to thank for denying the Singapore side from scoring.

Lamented on those lost chances, coach Tan said:"We could have won the match, but just the lack of composure and missed too many chances in the game."

Jamil Ali has been a key feature for the Stags' campaign
On the other hand, SLNA coach Nguyen Huu Thang thought his side fared below his expectation when he shared his thoughts with the media after the match.

"We should have played better than the home team (Tampines, and I felt some of the referee's decisions in this match went against us.

"To me, this is a 'must win' game for us, as the outcome of the game would have great influence for qualification for the next stage." added coach Nyugen.

(P.S: I met Latiff after the game and told him - "I still want to take your picture, Good Luck...")



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