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[WCQ2018] Stange: "It was a CORRECT RESULT"

Izwan Mahbud in agony as Southampton's Yoshida (22) celebrates
Everything went according to the script when Japan chalked up a 3-0 win over Singapore at the National Stadium last evening.

The result not only allowed the Blue Samurais to hold onto the top position in the AFC World Cup Qualifiers Group E standings but as a sort of revenge for that goal-less draw played in Saitama back in June as well.

The visitors wasted little time when the match kicked off at an usual timing at 7.15pm by setting up camp in their hosts' territory that basically crippled any chances of the Lions making their way out of their half.

Keisuke Honda (left) in disbelief of another screwed chance
So it wasn't that surprise to see the Japanese broke the duck in the 20th minute when Kashima Antlers' midefielder Mu Kanazaki sealed it off with sheer precision after controlled the ball well following a nice laid-off by Yoshinori Muto, who was at the receiving end of the cross floated in by Keisuke Honda from the right, in the box.

Soon afterwards, it was the 29-year-old AC Milan striker who doubled the tally in the 26th minute with a textbook finishing, thanks to another laid-off a stone throw away by Muto within the perspective that deflected off the boot of Nazrul Nazari along the process.

Hafiz Sujad (16) tried to whizz past from the left
Safuwan Baharudin (21) won the aerial duel
It was by then a clear indication that the Republic wouldn't want to see themselves incurred any huge margin hence saw they defended in numbers to absorb any pressure from their much potent opponents as the best option in this fixture.

Nonetheless, that sheer determination to maintain the scoreline to that decent margin could only be hold till the 87th when Maya Yoshida's innocent looking tap made it 3-0 from close range to close the chapter for the night.

Fazrul Nawaz (10) found in tough going when defend was the priority
"I am happy for the victory," said Japan coach Vahid Halilhodžić after the match. "We created many chances today while playing on a pitch that was difficult to control the ball that unfortunately we can't score more goals.

"In the second half, Singapore used a lot of counter-attacks, set pieces when our defence discipline were not at their best to create chances for themselves but we are not underestimating them when we didn't win anything yet while we are still fighting for the qualification." added the former Côte d'Ivoire and Algeria coach.

"Datuk" Hariss Harun sticking close to Honda 
Crowd favourite Shinji Kagawa (10) started the game in second half 
Despite the shutout, Singapore coach Bernd Stange wasn't unhappy with his team's performance when taking his seat in the post-match media conference.

Said the German coach:"It was a correct result for Japan who won it comfortably and took a successful revenge for that goal-less result in June."

"Back then, many of their players had just finished their season in Europe and it was an off-season for them, as compared to now when some of them are playing in top level competitions like the Champions League."

"To play against a team like Japan, we must defend and with more international matches like this, we can only confirm (gauge) our players and it shows we don't have enough players with this experience but I still believe we can qualify for the Asian Cup."


  1. I watched the game last night , I will give utmost credit to the Defence eventhough we let in three goals but the offence needs some tweaking. Felt as though we didn't have any depth in challenging for the ball upfront except for one or two slim chances. Overall the lads did give it all they got, looked like it was a "defend2 all the way" kinda game

  2. I think the defence looked good because Izwan was there to make the saves. Japan were toying with our backline when they bothered to come forward...

  3. "Coach Bernd Stange is totally wrong....Japan or The Blue Samurais are more then 30 years ahead of all other Asian countries. Japan improved the quality of their coaches. They have develop their own coach development courses according the model of the KNVB coach development model. Japan, South Korea and Australia have their own coach development programme. The AFC coach courses are of a very low level when you compare this courses with the coach courses of the UEFA countries..... and everybody knows that if the quality of the coach is low then the quality of the players is is the same as school education. If the quality of the teachers is low then the quality of their students is low......mark my coach Stange is wrong....Japan is more then 30 years ahead of all other asian countries...."


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