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[WCQ2018] - Uninspring Lions got better ahead of Unlucky Afghans

Teams lined up for the national anthems (Ko Po Hui)
Hardly an inspiring game for those who paid dearly (to some) and braced themselves amid the hazy uncertainty to turn out at Kallang for this World Cup Qualifiers fixture between Singapore and Afghanistan.

Frankly to say the absence of both Safuwan Baharudin and Hariss Harun was the reason behind the boring display from the Lions may not exactly tell the story.

True enough, Izzddin Shafiq did not fit in rightfully into the void left behind by the suspended Johor Darul Tazkim midfielder and the one-time Melbourne City loanee proved to be the missing jigsaw in the backline marshalled by Baihakki Khaizan and Madhu Mohana, yet the culprit laid on the lack of offensive plays that cut lone striker Khairul Amri an isolated figure upfront.

The usual stubborn deployment by Coach Bernd Stange for playing skipper Shahril Ishak (even though, he had been starting from the bench after the AFF Suzuki Cup debacle) behind the lone striker and using a proven striker in Fazrul Nawaz as a winger liken for having an electrician fixing a leaking pipe.

Right throughout the game, fans at the stands (those who sat around me, at least) were left throwing their hands up in the air after having countless of chances went off target or poor linked plays saw the possession lost to the opponents that prompted disapproval cries from fans for such negative performance from the hosts.

Fans expecting a much better display next from Lions  (Ko Po Hui)
On the other hand, the gutted Afghans counted themselves unlucky for miscued at least four chances to put them on the commanding position and paid the price dearly to see an unmarked Amri headed home the only goal in the game in the 72nd minute off a corner.

Hardly surprise to all with the clock running out, the "bus parking" tactics was deployed to ensure of the three points were secured following the undesirable show on the field which many at the game felt the Lions should have done better like they did against Syrians in spite that loss.

Nonetheless, the one-nil victory was the first for the Republic of the year in the National Stadium since they defeated Myanmar in the Suzuki Cup last November and they are scheduled to face Cambodia on 13th of October.

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