Singapore Football

Lions need wingbacks: Cambodia coach

The Lions lack balance.

That's the assessment of Cambodia coach Lee Tae Hoon, after seeing his side lose 1-0 to Singapore at the Bishan Stadium last night.

The South Korean (right), who guided the Angkor Warriors to a 2-1 win over Singapore in Phnom Penh in July, picked out the hosts' tentativeness in sending more men forward last night as one of the areas they have to work on if they hope to do well at the AFF Suzuki Cup, which kicks off later this week.

Cambodia dominated the first half yesterday but could not find the target, and paid the price in the second half when Yasir Hanapi scored the match-winner in the 70th minute.

"I think Singapore's players are not in 100 per cent condition now," said Lee.

"Yes, Singapore's group is very strong - with Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines - but Singapore are also very strong.

"But they should improve their team balance. Many times their defenders just stay (behind) - I think this is an old Singapore habit."

Singapore's performance in the first half, in particular, was poor.

The players looked jittery on the ball and gave possession away cheaply on countless occasions.

Lions coach V Sundramoorthy said this was the issue that irked him the most.

He said: "It was about making decisions with the ball and finding the correct pass and keeping composure.

"That's the reason we made some adjustments for the second half, and we started keeping the ball better."

Lee felt the reason for the home side's below-par showing in the first half was a lack of preparedness.

"I'm not surprised (of the first-half dominance) because our attackers have good ability," he said.

COULDN'T ADAPT

"Singapore prepared for our old formation, where we stayed behind and try to counter.

"But today, we tried high-pressing and the Singapore players couldn't adapt."

Cambodia kick off their Suzuki Cup Group B campaign on Sunday in Yangon against Malaysia, and then tournament co-hosts Myanmar (Nov 23), followed by Vietnam (Nov 26).

Singapore, meanwhile, play their first Group A game against co-hosts the Philippines in Manila on Saturday, before facing defending champions Thailand (Nov 22) and then Indonesia (Nov 25).

- SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ

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