Tampines aim to build on promising ACL debut against Chiangrai
Stags aim to get points against Chiangrai after losing 2-0 to Gamba Osaka
Buoyed by their ability to go toe to toe with Japanese powerhouses Gamba Osaka in their Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) debut on Friday, confidence is coursing through Tampines Rovers' veins.
But their coach Gavin Lee is aware that confidence does not win matches and he said his Singapore Premier League side can improve on their gallant showing in the 2-0 loss to last year's J-League runners-up.
|CHIANGRAI UNITED||TAMPINES ROVERS|
Lee, whose team claimed 57.9 per cent of possession in that match, told The Straits Times: "There were moments against Osaka that were really pleasing for me but we need to create more goal-scoring opportunities and be more decisive in the final third."
Today, the Stags will be aiming to show that improvement at the Bunyodkor Football Stadium in Tashkent, where they will meet Thai FA Cup winners and fellow ACL debutants Chiangrai United.
Stags captain Yasir Hanapi noted: "We have an extra belief that we can achieve something in the matches we have here."
He added the team were not in Uzbekistan just to make up the numbers and that they want to "show people what a side from Singapore can do, and that we can play quality football".
The Stags will need to be wary of Chiangrai's Brazilian dangermen - winger Felipe Amorim, and forward Bill, the Beetles' chief goal scorer. The 36-year-old has 51 goals in 83 appearances since joining the club in 2018.
Like Tampines, Chiangrai also gave a good account of themselves in their opening 2-1 loss to two-time ACL winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Friday.
In a group with Osaka and South Korean champions Jeonbuk, Chiangrai represent the Stags' best opportunity to collect points.
Lee said: "I do agree this is the game we should be looking to get points from. But they are probably going to say the same thing about us.
FOCUS ON OURSELVES
"For us, we will look to focus on ourselves and improve in each game we play in this competition."
Friday marked the first time a Singaporean side was back in Asia's top club competition after 11 years.
The previous team from the Republic to qualify for the tournament was former S-League champions Singapore Armed Forces FC in 2010, when they managed to draw 0-0 and win 2-1 against China's Henan Jianye.
"To win games at this level is not easy," Yasir said.
"And maybe this is a tougher game than the first one because Chiangrai... will see this as their best chance too.
"We need to make sure we match that motivation and be hungrier than them."