S'pore aim to apply lessons from 0-3 loss against Syria

Singapore might have been given the runaround by mighty Japan in their World Cup qualifier on Thursday, but the Lions are choosing to focus on the positive as they head into Tuesday's clash against Syria.

The Samurai Blue ran rings around the home side at the National Stadium, scoring three goals without reply in a footballing masterclass of pass, move and press.

Now Bernd Stange's men want to apply the lessons learnt against a team ranked 20 places above them in Fifa's rankings.

Yesterday, Lions midfielder Hariss Harun told The Straits Times: "We tried our best but Japan's class showed. Their whole team was technically sound so they could move the ball much quicker.

"They also hunted in packs when they lost the ball and we need to try and learn all this.

"Credit to Japan... but that's in the past now and we need to look forward to the next match."

A victory against Syria will boost Singapore's ambition of reaching the third round of the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Tuesday's opponents are second in Group E with 12 points from five games. Singapore are third with 10 points although the Lions have played one match more.

The group winners - and top four runners-up - from the eight qualifying groups get automatic qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup.

Syria, who have scored 18 goals and conceded five so far, will present a different proposition on the pitch from Japan.

Defender Madhu Mohana said: "Syria are much more physical.

"But all of us are eager and looking forward to playing them.

"We need to prove that we can do much better, and aim for three points against Syria at home."

His optimism is not unfounded.

Syria might have won the reverse fixture 1-0, which was played in neutral Oman, but Stange's men wasted several goal-scoring opportunities then.

They included an effort from striker Khairul Amri which came off the crossbar.

Singapore also beat Syria the last time the two sides met here, with Gabriel Quak scoring the decider in a 2-1 win at the Jalan Besar Stadium in 2013.

Said Hariss: "If you look at the last game, we created chances, hit the bar, played well enough to win, but unfortunately we couldn't.

"I feel we can match them.

"If we put our mind to it, raise our performance by a couple of notches, we can do something positive."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2015, with the headline 'S'pore aim to apply lessons from 0-3 loss against Syria'. Print Edition | Subscribe