'Tired' Cambodia ripe for the taking
Tired Cambodians seem ripe for the picking
SINGAPORE v CAMBODIA
(Tonight, 7.30pm, Singtel TV Ch 109 - Eleven)
Many local fans will be expecting goals from the Lions tonight, when Bernd Stange's men take on minnows Cambodia in their World Cup/Asian Cup Group E qualifier at the National Stadium.
The Angkor Warriors have conceded 14 goals and failed to score in four qualifying matches, including a 4-0 thumping by Singapore at their Phnom Penh home on June 11.
Cambodia coach Lee Tae Hoon isn't exactly full of fighting talk, either.
When The New Paper asked the South Korean yesterday if he was riled by talk his team were set for a torrid time tonight, he said: "I don't think people are wrong to think that.
"Singapore football is more developed, and your national team have performed very well in this qualifying campaign.
"People say they were not good against Afghanistan, but they were very good and very unlucky against Syria.
"We will be lucky to get a draw."
Singapore were second best in their 1-0 win over Afghanistan at the National Stadium last Thursday, relying on a 72nd-minute header by red-hot striker Khairul Amri to hand them a "dirty win", according to Stange.
It was the opposite scenario in their previous match, where they carved out the better openings but went down 1-0 to Syria in Muscat, Oman, on Sept 3.
Lee was at the helm when Cambodia lost 4-2 to Singapore in a friendly played at Yishun Stadium last November, just before Singapore's ill-fated AFF Suzuki Cup campaign.
The two strikes in that match were the only goals Cambodia have scored against the Lions since 2000; they have lost in all seven meetings, with an aggregate score of 22-2.
Another reason for Lee's pessimism ahead of tonight's match is the physical condition of his players.
The 54-year-old coach claimed his players were suffering because they've had to play "two games every week" in the local Cambodian league.
It did seem curious, then, that he has been having double training sessions - morning and evening - over the last two days.
"The morning session is just for tactical reasons - the players won't get tired," explained Lee.
"In the evening, we train like normal.
"But our players' condition is not so good - they are very tired.
"We will try play an offensive game, but I know Singapore players are better in ability than us, and we will have to play a defensive formation.
"But we will always try our best."
We will try play an offensive game, but I know Singapore players are better in ability than us, and we will have to play a defensive formation.
— Cambodia coach Lee Tae Hoon
7 Cambodia have lost to Singapore in all seven meetings, with an aggregate score of 22-2.