Looking beyond Taiwan to Suzuki Cup
Dead-rubber match a chance for Lions to impress Sundram
Singapore's Asian Cup Group E qualifier against Taiwan may be inconsequential, but the AFF Suzuki Cup coming up at year end provides an incentive for the Lions to perform well today.
Lions coach V Sundram Moorthy told The New Paper just as much over the phone yesterday.
He said: "We will continue looking at the players' commitment and attitudes in how they approach the game."
For the Lions, building on last Friday's welcome 3-2 victory against the Maldives is key to maintain the feel-good factor.
But Sundram is keenly aware of the threat tonight's opponents pose.
Taiwan are sure to finish third on at least six points, while Singapore are rock bottom with two in Group E. Leaders Bahrain host Turkmenistan in a battle for first place.
In the reverse fixture last June, Taiwan won 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium, and followed up by beating Bahrain at home by the same scoreline in October.
They go into this game having won five home matches in a row.
Particularly, 17-year-old Crystal Palace midfielder Will Donkin has taken Taiwan by storm, coming off the bench to help them beat the Philippines, East Timor and Laos in last year's Chinese Taipei Football Association International Tournament.
Sundram cautioned: "We're playing different opposition here and we're playing away.
"We must see how they line up and then change our approach."
And though Sundram anticipates the starting line-up will not have too many tweaks, he spoke bullishly about the chance to give youngsters more experience.
He spoke highly of the 17-year-old Ben Davis, saying: "He's young and talented. He still has time on his side.
"It ultimately depends on how the game goes, but of course if the opportunity arises, we will throw him in."
Approaching the game on the back of Friday's 3-2 win has at least provided relief for Sundram, who acknowledged the psychological importance of the result.
He said: "It's a good morale- boosting win and I believe the players are more confident moving forward."
And one can only hope the Lions translate this into a positive result later today at the Taipei Municipal Stadium.
The match kicks off at 7pm.