Football: Nazrul takes loss on chin as fans enjoy the goal fest

Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud failing to save the tap-in from Angel di Maria as the Lions conceded six goals at the National Stadium against Argentina.
Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud failing to save the tap-in from Angel di Maria as the Lions conceded six goals at the National Stadium against Argentina.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Argentina fans cheering on their side as the world No. 2 team swatted aside the 157-ranked side in a marquee friendly marking the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Football Association of Singapore.
Argentina fans cheering on their side as the world No. 2 team swatted aside the 157-ranked side in a marquee friendly marking the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Football Association of Singapore.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Singapore's 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Argentina left no one in doubt about the Argentinians' superiority, but it may yet prove to be a valuable learning experience for some of the younger Lions in the squad.

Argentina, the second-ranked team in the world, are a distinct cut above any team the Lions have faced in the last five years.

When the Lions lost 7-1 in February 2012, for example, it was to then 79th-ranked Iraq in a World Cup qualifier.

Lions right-back Nazrul Nazari said he tried to learn from how Argentina both attacked and defended during the game.

"It was a good experience for all of us, and I'm just trying to take what I can from the game to develop and improve further," said Nazrul, 26, who provided brief cheer for the home fans in the first half when he nutmegged an Argentinian player on the right flank.

With Argentinian winger Angel di Maria switching between flanks throughout the game, both Nazrul and left-back Shakir Hamzah would have gotten an eyeful of world-class pedigree.

A LEVEL TO ASPIRE TO

It was a good experience for all of us, and I'm just trying to take what I can from the game to develop and improve further.

NAZRUL NAZARI, Lions right-back, felt that he and his team-mates could learn from the way Argentina play the beautiful game.

For some of the fans in attendance, the presence of di Maria and Juventus forward Paulo Dybala helped offset some of the disappointment arising from the absence of Barca star Lionel Messi.

"I don't think the crowd really missed Messi today," said Eu Chun Yee, 21, a full-time national serviceman who paid $188 for his ticket.

"Argentina played di Maria and Dybala for the full 90 minutes, so at least they tried to make it worthwhile for the paying fans."

Student Rahul Warrier, 17, agreed, saying: "Obviously it'd have been better if Messi was here, but it was still worth the money because Argentina fielded a strong side.

"It was nice to see good goals, passing and attacking football."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'Nazrul takes loss on chin as fans enjoy the goal fest'. Print Edition | Subscribe