Lions suffer shock loss to Japan university team
Sundram shrugs off loss to Japanese university team, as he experiments with players and formations
NIIGATA UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH AND WELFARE TEAM 3
(Kazume Takahashi 13, 22, Wada Kanta 56)
(Gabriel Quak 9, Hafiz Abu Sujad 26)
Just over a year ago, they recorded a famous result in Japan, holding the mighty Samurai Blue to a goalless draw in a World Cup qualifier.
The Lions' return to the Land of the Rising Sun this week is far from a happy one.
V Sundramoorthy's charges suffered a shock 3-2 loss to the Niigata University of Health and Welfare team at the Swan Field in Niigata yesterday - the first of their three training matches in a week-long training camp.
The Lions started the game strongly, with winger Gabriel Quak rattling the crossbar with an effort after just three minutes.
It didn't take long for the Geylang International star to get it right when he reacted quickest in the box to a deflected cutback by Azhar Sairudin to open the scoring in the ninth minute.
But the Niigata university side struck back through striker Kazume Takahashi, who bagged a quickfire brace in the space of nine minutes (13th and 22nd).
Four minutes later, Hafiz Abu Sujad restored parity with a rifled shot from just inside the penalty box.
The inability to defend a corner kick proved to be the Lions' undoing, as Wada Kanta stabbed home what turned out to be the winner in the 56th minute.
Goalscorer Quak said: "There are no excuses, a loss is a loss.
"But the most important thing is the players managed to get a run-out in a good and competitive match.
"Of course, we didn't want to start the training camp in Japan with a defeat, but we just have to look ahead to tomorrow, and then the big one against Albirex Niigata on Sunday."
Singapore, who are without five overseas-based stars like Hassan Sunny and Hariss Harun, will play the Japan Soccer College team today, and then J-League outfit Albirex Niigata on Sunday.
They will travel to Phnom Penh to play Cambodia in an "A" international friendly next Thursday.
Lions coach V Sundramoorthy said: "I'm happy to give the players their first minutes of this training camp.
"These two training matches give me the opportunity to test various formations and players such as Amy Recha.
"This will be important in our preparations for the friendly against Albirex Niigata and Cambodia."
l SINGAPORE STARTING 11: Zaiful Nizam, Nazrul Nazari, Madhu Mohana, Daniel Bennett, Shakir Hamzah, Izzdin Shafiq, Yasir Hanapi, Gabriel Quak, Azhar Sairudin, Hafiz Abu Sujad, Khairul Amri
l Subs used: Abdil Qaiyyim, Afiq Yunos, M Anumanthan, Safirul Sulaiman, Amy Recha, Khairul Nizam, Fazrul Nawaz.
There are no excuses, a loss is a loss. But the most important thing is the players managed to get a run-out in a good and competitive match.
- National winger Gabriel Quak