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"ZERO WIN" In 2017 For The Hapless Lions ...

Far too familiar sight for the past one year
The woeful display by the Singapore national team on their last match of the year sums up the state of the game in the island republic.

In this do-or-die battle against Bahrain at the National Stadium, a victory would have ensured the Lions of their faltering hopes to stay alive to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup tournament next year.

Unfortunately, things did not go the way Singapore wanted as they found themselves succumbed to their ninth defeat of the year in the hands of the Middle Easterns and the three-nil loss at home eventually kissed their continental dream goodbye.

This result also concluded the fact that the four-time Asean champions ended their calendar without a single win since their last triumph back in last November against Cambodia at the Bishan Stadium.

Right from the start, attempts by both Geylang International's Shawal Anuar and Home United’s Irfan Fandi in a space of ten minutes gave the beleaguered host side a glimpse of hopes that they were ready to put the rot to a stop.

Shawal Anuar (white boots) collapsed onto the ground
Shawal had his effort draw across the face of the goal from the right in the second minute, while Irfan’s free-kick was smothered by the Bahrainis ’keeper Sayed Shubbar on line moments later.

The exploits by these both players seems to be instrumental in coach V Sundram moorthy’s game plan that everything turned chaos for the home side when they were forced to take early shower due to injuries occurred during the match.

The moment when Irfan Fandi (20) had his ankle twisted
“Both Shawal and Irfan are important players that with their absence from the game, I can't make any tactical changes.” lamented Coach Sundram at the post-match press conference.

“When Irfan was forced out of the game due to a twisted ankle, you can see the void he left behind which allowed the Bahrain number nine (Mahdi Abdul Jabbar) to score two goals.

"We did well to hold them for sixty minutes but disappointed with the conceding of those soft goals (after Irfan left the game)." he added.

Compared to the flair and confident shown by the guests, the Lions were not able to match their opponents with same kind of performance, as it was the Bahrainis who dictated the momentum of the game by restricted the hapless Lions in their own half throughout the night.

Mahdi Abdul Jabbar (9) headed home with this aerial attempt
Poor decision making, stray passes which were easily intercepted by the guests also resulted the lack of firepower upfront for toothless Singapore side that hardly rattled the Bahrain fortress.

When asked what could be done to address the weak striking power that has been plaguing the FIFA-ranked 173 side, the former national striker replied the remedy depends on how the domestic league is able to support that cause.

Jamal Rashed (second from right) scored Bahrain's third goal of the night
"We have to look for strikers in the S.League and see they can give younger ones," suggested the ex-Jurong FC coach. "For now, we just have to do our best in our next match against Chinese Taipei and prepare for AFF tournament."