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"We ARE OUT of AFC CUP" with Warriors' 2-0 loss to Semen Padang

The second goal of the game was scored in the 61st minute

Coupled Tampines Rover's loss a day earlier in Vietnam, the 2-0 defeat suffered in the hands of Sumatran club Semen Padang by defending Singapore Cup holders Warriors in the AFC Cup Group E fixture had confirmed the exit of both Singapore clubs from the continental second-tier club tournament.

With those results confirmed, it means for the second time in tournament history (Geylang United in 2010) will not see any participating club from the Republic qualified to the second phase of this tournament with Geylang United and Home United being the semi-finalists in the founding year back in 2004.

When asked if the result meant Singapore clubs and the rest of the regional clubs are way apart, Warriors coach V Selvaraj felt otherwise.

Sufian Anuar mistimed his header for this chance in the first half

During the post-match media briefing, the former Singapore striker said: “I felt that our local clubs are good enough to compete with the rest of the regional clubs, as I still believe we are still up there at that level.”

Summing up his thoughts of the match that would still give his side a slim chance of qualification by beating the Indonesian club, despite another result of the group went against them when Kitchee defeated Churchill Brothers before the game (provided Warriors can also beat Kitchee in Hong Kong after they beat Semen Padang), Coach Selvaraj felt the lack of clinical touches in front of goal paid the price.

An anxious moment for Padang in the first half for this corner

“I think we have been missing a lot of chances for not converting them, which (Tatsuro) Inui, Sufian (Anuar) and Kari (Mislav Karoglan) should have been sharper in front of goal and I feel sorry for the defence,

“And by moving more men forward upfront in the second half, had allowed them to catch us during those breaks,” he added.

With a dead-rubber game ahead in Hong Kong in days to come, coach Selvaraj revealed his intention to field some younger players to give them the much-needed exposure in view of the upcoming demanding domestic fixtures upon returning from the SAR.

Shaky defence at back allow Padang to slip through in the second 45

In the meantime, the win over the most decorated Singapore club had placed Semen Padang firmly at the top of the group with an unbeaten record and saw them qualified for the next round of the Cup.

In spite of that achievement, Padang coach Jafri Sastrak remained unfazed and choose to stay focused with their last match against Churchill Brothers at home.

Speaking in Bahasa Indonesia, coach Jafri said: "We are not surprised with our progress so far since our target is to make it through the group stages of the AFC Cup and we already got it prepared before the start

"Although we are already qualified for the next stage, we will still be focusing our game against Churchill Brothers," he added via the translation through a club official with him during the post-match press conference.


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