|Cubs (in red) struggled against the Japanese|
Fresh from their training trip to Turkey that saw them chalking up losses on margin against their peers from German side Hamburger SV, Spartak Moscow of Russian and Yemen U21 with a draw salvaged against Uzbekistan U21, things remain positive and was lauded as a good learning experience for the team's preparation for the upcoming SEA Games in June.
So literally, here came this match that the visiting Japanese U22 national side shown their class and gave their hosts - SINGAPORE NATIONAL U23 TEAM, a lesson that will etch in their minds that would not be easy to erase in the near future.
Down by five goals at half time against the Japanese Olympic squad, the Cubs found themselves barely able to make their way out of their fortress during the first 45 with their opponents completely dominated the possession with ease and confidence that the silenced home supporters who would only hope the men in red had shown half of that quality as well.
|Nakajima (10) volleyed in the lead in |
|Nakajima scored his second of the evening|
"After the first two goals (by Nakajima), I think the Singapore side looked demoralized and didn't come as aggressively as expected," suggested Japanese coach Makoto Teguramori after the match when sharing his thoughts that were
|Shakir Hamzah (2) foiled this attempt in box|
Following that, Musashi Suzuki, with his distinctive blonde top, tripled the score in the 34th minute to allow two more goals from JEF United's Haruya Ide (in 42nd minute) and Ryota Oshima (45th minute) of Kawasaki Frontale before referee Mohd Farhan signalled the end of the first half to allow the shackled Singapore side to catch the much-needed breather.
Crippled by the lack of support from the rest of the team, it wasn't hard to tell Sahil Suhaimi was a lone figure upfront with little attention was needed to mark him out when the ball wasn't there for him to inflict any visible damage on the Japanese
Eventually, the LionsXII forward was replaced by Irfan
|"Three defender and One Irfan"|
Impact shown by the 17-year-old drawn
Nonetheless, the former
|Japanese U22 shown their class in this match|
|Coach Teguramori sharing his thoughts|
"Today, we showed that we are able to overcome our problem in goal scoring, but none of our goals came from set-pieces and it's a challenge my team
"We learnt a lot today, even though it's a painful defeat and hope the boys are able to learn the gap between football in South East Asia and the rest of Asia, which I think this experience will help them to improve," concluded Cubs' coach Aide in his assessment of the day which he feted his opponents today as the "golden generation" of the Japanese football
"As for now, I will try to build the team morale back again and felt it's good that the players experience this (defeat) now, but I think playing against top teams like Japan will push them to perform to their limit and believe we have substance in this team that we need more time to peak at the right moment." said the former Lions defender.