Football: Sundram calm ahead of Tampines' must-win AFC Cup game against Selangor

V. Sundramoorthy reacts during the S-League match between Hougang United and Tampines Rovers.
V. Sundramoorthy reacts during the S-League match between Hougang United and Tampines Rovers. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Tampines Rovers' V. Sundramoorthy cut a cool and confident figure on Monday, a day before the biggest match of the Stags' season so far.

The five-time S-League champions take on Causeway rivals Selangor in a crucial Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup group match, where only three points will guarantee passage to the round of 16.

With only one game left, the Stags are third with seven points, one behind Selangor and two behind leaders Ceres of the Philippines. The top two teams qualify for the next stage.

That the match will be held at the 55,000 seater National Stadium, the first time a local club is playing at the venue since it reopened its doors in 2014, only adds to the expectations on the club who boast a clutch of national players and the S-League's biggest signing, former Liverpool and Arsenal man Jermaine Pennant.

Addressing the media at the Peninsula Hotel, he said: "(Our fate) is in our hands, that's the most important thing. We decide our destiny. The boys are ready to go, in training all the players are very motivated. Tomorrow we can (expect to) see them putting on a good show.

"If (the team) turns up, are willing to run and fight for everything, we can get the (win)."

Tampines triumphed 1-0 at the Selayang Stadium in the reverse fixture, and Sundram said that will give his team a psychological advantage.

The tactician added that Pennant, who sat out the last few S-League matches due to a hamstring problem, is now fit and ready to go.

Selangor coach Zainal Abidin Hassan, however, is out to ensure that defeat is a one-off as he bids to join fellow Malaysian side Johor Darul Takzim in the knockout stage.

He said: "It was a big loss for us at home. It's advantage Tampines now, because they are playing at home. But we will be going all out to qualify for the next round."