Raddy: Lions should have no fear of Thais
Opening point deserved and and they must remember contests between two teams have mostly been close
After the way Thailand beat Indonesia 4-2 in their opening AFF Suzuki Cup match, their billing as overwhelming favourites will be reinforced ahead of their encounter with Singapore on Tuesday.
Of course, it won't be easy for the Lions.
But this will not be the first time the Lions are playing against a good team.
Look at what Singapore managed to pull off when they played Japan in a 2018 World Cup qualifier last year (it ended 0-0 at Saitama Stadium).
Singapore have played Thailand in Suzuki Cup finals before, and on every occasion, everybody said the Thais were the favourites.
But the matches were also closely fought and not all went the way of the Thais.
V Sundramoorthy's men must take things into their own hands.
They have every chance of winning.
They played well in the draw with the Philippines.
The hosts were trying to play technical football, but they had to do it on a pitch which wasn't that good.
Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny pulled off several crucial saves but the whole team did their best.
Look at Safuwan Baharudin, Hariss Harun and Anumanthan.
All of them worked very hard.
The backline did an excellent job against a team playing with an extra man for almost one hour.
When Faris Ramli came on as a substitute in the second half, he almost instantly created a scoring chance.
Hassan, as the goalkeeper, was the last barrier the Philippines had to breach.
He was the man designated to make the final stop in case the opponents broke through, and he did his job perfectly.
But the number of bookings Singapore received in this game may come back to haunt them if they go far in the tournament.
I don't think it was an intentional foul by Hafiz Abu Sujad, who got his marching orders in the first half.
He went for the ball and caught Phil Younghusband high, and the referee was close enough to the incident to assess the situation and he felt that he had to send Hafiz off.
Some referees would give a red card for that, some wouldn't.
On top of the dismissal, Anumanthan, Safuwan and Hassan also got yellow cards.
It can become a big problem if they reach the semi-finals or the final, and find their key players suspended.
Singapore's next game will definitely be more physical than it was against the Philippines.
Potentially, they may rack up even more bookings.
Considering that this was their first game, and it was against the home team, this has to count as a good result for the Lions.
Coach Radojko Avramovic. PHOTO: BH FILE
- Radojko Avramovic is the most successful national team coach in the history of Singapore football. He led the Lions from 2004 to 2012 and won the AFF Championship in 2004, 2007 and 2012 to become the first and only coach to win the title three times.
- FOX Sports is proud to be the exclusive pay-TV broadcaster for the 11th edition of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup. The biennial championship gathers Southeast Asia's top national teams to vie to be crowned kings of football in the region. FOX Sports will be showing all 18 games live on both its network and its online FOX Sports Play offering. Leading the team in the FOX Sports studio will be industry veteran Steve Dawson and former Singapore international John Wilkinson, with insights from former Suzuki Cup coaches, Steve Darby and record three-time title-winning coach, Radojko "Raddy" Avramovic.