Lions keep the faith ahead of Indonesia match
Singapore keep the faith as Sundram backs his players in do-or-die mission
They were left reeling after a last-gasp goal consigned them to defeat on Tuesday, and were then rocked by a rant on social media by a senior member of the team.
But the Lions did not appear overly affected by the heartbreaking loss, or the Facebook posting by veteran defender Baihakki Khaizan.
The team, who suffered a kick in the teeth after conceding an 89th-minute winner in their AFF Suzuki Cup Group A match against Thailand, looked in good spirits as they went through a recovery session in the pool at their Novotel Hotel base in Cubao yesterday.
They play Indonesia tomorrow in their final group game at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
A win over the Indonesians will give them a chance of advancing to the semi-finals with Thailand, who have already qualified.
Coach V Sundramoorthy was even in a playful mood.
"Hariss, be careful... I don't know if that's a shark or dolphin in front of you," he told Hariss Harun, referring to sports trainer Gurnaya Singh.
A number of players felt their performance against tournament favourites Thailand was encouraging, and they were all smiles in the pool as they followed the instructions of physiotherapist Nurhafizah Abu Sujad.
Sundram had set his team out to defend and frustrate the talented Thais, while looking to hit them on the break.
Three times, the Lions created good chances on the counter-attack, but could not put the opportunities away, and paid the price in the end.
Yesterday, those who did not play against Thailand stretched their legs in a short kickabout in the afternoon, before the 22-man squad were given the evening off.
Despite getting just a point from two games – after a 0-0 draw with Philippines last Saturday – and no goals scored, Sundram praised his players' efforts.
"In the past two games, the boys have really played their hearts out," said the 51-year-old coach.
"Their passion really comes through, and they also managed to play a tactically clever game, making it very difficult for the opponents.
"You can see the boys have the hunger to be successful."
Indonesia are currently bottom of the group and need a win to have any hope of progressing.
They were beaten 4-2 by Thailand in their opening game, and drew 2-2 with Philippines in the second.
While the team are cavalier going forward, they often leave themselves exposed at the back.
And Sundram believes this, coupled with his players' hunger, will see them get the result they need.
"We'll try to find the weaknesses of Indonesia and exploit them," said the coach.
"Whatever happens in the other match (between Thailand and Philippines), we should focus on beating Indonesia and getting that semi-final spot.
"We need to be focused and do our part. The players have given their all in the first two games and, if they can do it in the third, we can get what we need."
- Singapore v Indonesia
- Philippines v Thailand
LIONS GO THROUGH IF...
- Singapore beat Indonesia and Philippines fail to beat Thailand
- Singapore and Indonesia draw, and Thailand beat Philippines by at least two goals.
- Singapore and Indonesia draw after scoring at least three goals (3-3, 4-4 and so on) and Thailand beat Philippines.
LIONS ARE OUT IF..
- 1. Singapore lose to Indonesia.
- 2. Philippines beat Thailand.
- 3. Singapore and Indonesia draw, and so do Thailand and Philippines.
- 4. Singapore and Indonesia draw 0-0 or 1-1, and Thailand beat Philippines by one goal.
IN THE EVENT...
- Singapore and Indonesia draw 2-2 and Thailand beat Philippines 1-0, the organising committee will draw lots to decide whether Philippines or Singapore progress.