Amri fit and ready to fire for Lions
Lions hope to repeat 2009 win over Turkmenistan in tomorrow's crucial qualifier
Khairul Amri has scored quite a few memorable goals in his international career, but the one he netted in Singapore's 4-2 victory over Turkmenistan in the Ho Chi Minh City International Tournament in 2009 has slipped his mind.
"We played them before? And I scored? I totally forgot," admitted the Lions' chief striker before training yesterday.
Then, Aleksandar Duric bagged a brace while Masrezwan Masturi was the other scorer.
That victorious side included Hassan Sunny, Daniel Bennett, Shahril Ishak, Hariss Harun, Fazrul Nawaz and Amri.
Eight years on, the same six players are in V Sundramoorthy's squad that will face the Central Asian side in a crucial Asian Cup qualifier at the Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow.
Amri, along with Hariss and Hassan, brushed aside comparisons with the 2009 side, which had naturalised players such as Duric, Agu Casmir and Precious Emuejeraye.
Hassan, 33, pointed out that the national team are constantly in flux, with a never-ending cycle of players being called up or dropped from one game to another.
The Home United custodian added: "But it's good that we have a lot of good, new players.
"Back then, it was Hariss and Fazrul, now we have the likes of Faris Ramli and some others."
Amri, 32, added: "It's good to have these players in the team, with their experience, but the game is played at a higher pace now and we need younger players like Hariss, Faris (Ramli) and Izzdin (Shafiq) to keep up the tempo."
Other than the make-up of the team, other things have changed since the 2009 tie as well.
For instance, the Lions' international ranking has slipped since that game - their ranking ranged from 110th to 135th in 2009, but they are now 171st.
Turkmenistan, though, have largely maintained their standing in the world - their ranking fluctuated between 140th and 157th in 2009, and they are currently 141st.
Also, a different Lion tamer is at the helm - Raddy Avramovic, Singapore's most successful coach in the nation's professional football era, was in charge in 2009, while former national player Sundram holds the reins now.
The Dazzler had received criticism from some quarters for his pragmatic and defensive approach, but may have found the right formula with his experiment with a 3-4-3 formation in last week's 1-1 friendly draw with Hong Kong.
Hassan said: "We played really well. I think it was one of the best performances so far under coach Sundram."
Hariss, 26, added: "We need to continue where we left off.
"Besides the early goal (we conceded), we did really well. We had good possession, good chances, and the only thing missing were the goals."
The Lions are at the bottom of Group E, after a 0-0 draw with Bahrain in March, and a disappointing 2-1 home loss to Taiwan in June.
Amri, who missed the Taiwan game due to appendicitis, said he is "100 per cent" fit for tomorrow's tie.
Said the Tampines Rovers man: "I am feeling fit, especially after the one-week training before the Hong Kong match.
"I feel equipped, thanks to Sasha (Bozenko, national team fitness trainer).
"Goals are vital on Tuesday and, if I can't score, I want to help others to do so."
Hariss said that the Lions are eager to make amends after the "demoralising" loss to Taiwan.
He said: "(The Taiwan game) was not what many people expected, especially since we were at home.
"We have to make amends for that.
"Each and every one of us need to turn up (in the match tomorrow). We have to give our best because we need a result to get closer to qualification.
"It is important that we put ourselves back in the mix to qualify for the Finals."