Team Singapore

TNP analyst Sathianathan: This is the worst Lions team

1 Did Malaysia deserve to win?

B SATHIANATHAN: The question is whether Singapore were good enough in the first place, and they weren't.

Tactically, this is the worst Singapore team that I've seen. There wasn't a single shot on target until Safuwan Baharudin's free-kick in the lead-up to the equaliser.

They posed no threat at all. Even when Mahali Jasuli was constantly overlapping down the right flank, the Lions failed to take advantage.

2 Was the penalty at the end a fair decision?

Anything could have happened in that instant. The Singapore backline were at fault for allowing the diagonal ball to come in.

The question is how they allowed such a ball to come in. In my opinion, Singapore really missed Baihakki Khaizan in the centre of defence. He would have cleared it.

3 Did Dollah Salleh's second-half substitutions make a difference?

As the second half wore on, Dollah (Salleh, Malaysia coach) brought in fresh legs. That's a must in every game and Dollah did that perfectly.

Safee (Sali) worked his socks off. When Indra Putra Mahyuddin came on, he ran everywhere to make space, and that's how the third goal came about.

The replacements that Dollah brought on all made a positive impact on the game, and they contributed in large part to the outcome of the match.

4 What was Dollah's game plan for the match?

I think his plan was for the team to stay up front as much as possible, and try to get a goal at every chance.

Every time the Malaysians pushed forward, they posed a threat.

But, the thing is, even Tigers captain Shukor Adan, who isn't even a defender, handled the Singapore forwards with ease.

That just proved what I said, that this is the worst Singapore team that I've seen. Tactically, they weren't up for it.

5 What went wrong for Singapore?

I think Singapore paid too much respect to the opponents. They were obviously pushing for a draw, and that played into Malaysia's hands. Even when Malaysia gave away silly free-kicks, the Lions didn't trouble them, except when Khairul Amri scored.

6 Your thoughts on the semi-final against Vietnam? Can Malaysia go all the way?

I believe that Malaysia can spring a surprise. Vietnam are a team that attack down the flanks, so it all boils down to how well the fullbacks defend.

I still think that Thailand and the Philippines are the favourites but, if we played good counter-attacking football like today, then they might just make it.

  • B Sathianathan is coach of ATM FA, and coached the Malaysia national team from 2007 to 2009.

There wasn’t a single shot on target until Safuwan Baharudin’s free-kick in the lead-up to the equaliser. They posed no threat at all.

— B Sathianathan on Singapore

AFF Suzuki Cup