Tardy reminds Young Lions to 'respect football'
U-22 coach Tardy happy with Laos win but frowns at performance and attitude of some players
|(Taufik Suparno 3, Ikhsan Fandi 11-pen)|
It was not pretty, but the target was met.
Singapore's national Under-22 side beat their Laos counterparts 2-0 at the Selayang Stadium in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to keep alive their slim hopes of making the semi-finals of the SEA Games football competition.
After Richard Tardy's charges fell to Myanmar and Malaysia in their first two Group A matches earlier in the week, a win against Laos yesterday was absolutely critical.
Tardy was pleased with the win, but also voiced his displeasure over the performance and attitude of some of his players.
"We did 50 per cent of the job by beating Laos, but the target is to get six points in the last two games," Frenchman Tardy told The New Paper.
"I'm not very happy with the performance, but I am happy with the result.
"We scored very fast, then we forgot to respect football - this is what we must learn.
"But it is a very good result for the spirit of the players."
It took only three minutes for Singapore to break the deadlock.
Goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad's horrific goal-kick somehow found Hami Syahin who released Hanafi Akbar.
The midfielder then delivered a tantalising left-wing cross that was missed by Ikhsan Fandi, but slammed in at the far post by the lurking Taufiq Suparno.
Singapore earned a somewhat fortunate penalty eight minutes later after Ikhsan appeared to have been tripped in the box.
The 18-year-old rolled the ball into the net, sending the Laos goalkeeper the wrong way.
"I was disappointed by the attitude of some players. After we scored fast, the players tried to joke sometimes with the ball and the opponents," said Tardy, declining to reveal names.
"This is what I mean you must respect football. Fortunately, we kept the result till the end. But we must be careful against Brunei - we must keep the result until the end."
Singapore face Brunei in their final group fixture next Wednesday. But their SEA Games campaign could well be over before that.
Myanmar beat Brunei 6-0 in the other Group A fixture yesterday to secure their ticket to the semi-finals.
There is only one way for Singapore to survive the group - they need Myanmar to beat hosts Malaysia on Monday, and for Malaysia to fall to Laos on Wednesday.
Singapore will also have to beat Brunei by a large-enough margin to achieve a better goal difference than Malaysia.
As it stands, Malaysia have six points, three more than Singapore. The SEA Games hosts have a +2 goal difference, while the Young Lions are on -1.
Hanafi may have been a constant threat in attack yesterday, with Ikhsan a thorn in the Laos defence, but Tardy recognised that his boys may have got off lucky.
"Laos perhaps did not give a very good performance, especially in the first half but, in the second half, they showed they can play nice football and they (gave) us some problems," said Tardy.
"Fortunately, we defended well and didn't concede, but we must respect this team from Laos."
The Young Lions' chances of progressing to the next round might be close to zero, but Tardy will not be going easy on his team.
"We must continue to be serious, put the team under pressure. I know that sometimes they (the players) think that it's very easy - when we win - and they forget some rules of the team," he said.
"We must keep pressure on the team."