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Stange remains defiant despite criticism after 2-2 draw against Guam

Shaky Moments in Guam's six-yard
With last evening's result, I could not help but recall this article written years ago suggested Singapore should group themselves with Oceania nations for any bid to lift themselves from the doldrums we are facing.

However, with the outcome against a side, who were once thrashed 21-0 by North Korea in 2005, the suggestion made in that article is now seen as a tall order for Singapore football to get back on their feet anytime soon.

Despite facing barrage of criticism after strings of poor results, national coach Bernd Stange is still able to put something out of his book of excuses to brace the music after salvaging a 2-2 draw Guam at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Shane Malcolm's (23) deeds led to first goal 
Whether if those words are convincing, the German coach pressed ahead with them during the assessment after the match.

Said the 67-year-old:"After the two-nil loss to Thailand, we find it hard to get the rhythm coming this game,

"We did improve in the second half and after the game went two-all, we tried to win but we couldn't and it could be better."

"While unfortunately we couldn't win this match, the way we played is the way I like and I believe we are in right direction ahead for our World Cup (Qualifiers) preparation."

Gabriel Quak (7) added fluency on right in second half
Faris Ramli (11) headed home to level the score
Reiterated what the former Iraq coach said a day earlier that Pacific Islanders are "a good team", the visitors immediately shown their determination less than five minutes into the game when Shane Malcolm capitalized on the slip up on the Lions' right flank and drilled his way into the box before side-netted his effort amid a cracked defence.

The American-born attacking midfielder was such a menacing player that he constantly disturbed Singapore backline with his pace and eventually saw his penetration from the right into the penalty area that led to the first goal of the night when he laid it back to allow Shawn Nicklaw, another US-based player to open the account from close range in the 37th minute.

The hosts did show some decency with the introduction of Lions XII winger Gabriel Quak after the interval with some injection of fluency in their attacking play from the right, which eventually paid off in the 54th minute with a Faris Ramli equalizer off a header in the box.

Both Safuwan (21) and Hariss (14) are overseas-based Lions 
One feel for Guam's 'keeper Bijan Gloston for the 80th goal
It was thought that Guamanians were on their way to an historic win against a team that ranked eleven places ahead of them in the FIFA ranking when skipper Jason Cunliffe put his side back to the lead in the 73rd minute, a lapse in defending a corner saw JDT II defender Baihakki Khaizan saved the blushes for the home side with a strike seven minutes later.

"It was an entertaining game for the fans," uttered Guam's coach Gary White."I am pleased with what I saw and it's a perfect preparation for us before the World Cup Qualifiers."

"Tactically, we picked it up along the game and I feel it is a great result, however, I felt we should have won this game and a draw like this feels like a loss that we can't take international game lightly." added the Englishman who is instrumental in rising the footballing standard of the one-time whipping boys of the game in recent years.


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