|AFC Swansong for Duric?|
Definitely not the kind of curtain down that anyone would want for, as it was deemed a "dead-rubber" encounter following Stags' last week loss to Saigon Xuan Thanh to quash any hope of advancement for the defending S.League champions.
It concluded that the Stags will be for the second consecutive time not making past the group stages in their last six appearances with their best showing in 2005 to 2007 that saw make them made it to the elimination phrase.
The exit from the second-tier Asian club tournament by both Tampines Rovers and Warriors FC (Singapore's other representative in the tournament) would mean the harsh reality that Singapore football need to face from now on.
|Duric's 58th minute effort levelled the scores at 2-2|
Sharing his thoughts with this blogger, the decorated goal poacher said:"I think all the teams in our group (Group H) are equally strong, we really didn't have the luck that we could have won a few games and we also not started well,
"I guess there were a few tactical mistakes in the first few games and in this kind of tournament, it's very important that you must win those games especially when you were at home, therefore, things got a bit pressurize when you lost in those matches."
The conversation also touched on the question why Tampines are not able to translate its unbeaten domestic form (nine matches unbeaten since the start of the S.League season this year) to the tournament that used to see them as regulars at the knock-out phrase in the past following a record of two draws and four defeats.
|Aerial duel with Selangor's Mahalli Jasuli|
"Honestly, I thought we would go far (in the AFC Cup) with this team whom we have with so many good players and those we played together in the national team, unfortunately, along the way we lost a few key players, but at the end of the day what matters is how we perform on the pitch."
"Whether other countries in the region are catching up and improving with the kind of financial resources they have, I don't know, but we have been at the top for so long with the recent Suzuki Cup win had proven, despite having smaller resources, we still have one of the best leagues, thus our result in this AFC Cup may not reflect the real picture."
|Amri Yahyah (no 17) spoiled the Stags' day with double effort display|
"More or less I can agree (with them), but at the same time I look at other teams in our group that they are facing the same problems like ours, maybe because at times we need to travel quite far a distance and play in those humidity conditions, therefore, it would take some time to recover.
"But players need to get used to that and I don't think there will be much changes in the near future of this scheduling with that we will now stay focused on the S.League and the (Singapore) Cup that is coming up soon." opined the one-time Olympian.