The Straits Times
Published on Dec 25, 2012

AFF Suzuki Cup win: Defending a lead not the way to go


THE Lions returned home to a rapturous reception on Sunday ("Victorious Lions mobbed on return from Bangkok"; yesterday) after they lifted the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup for a record fourth time on Saturday with an aggregate win of 3-2 over Thailand.

Did the Lions deserve to win? Yes and no. It was 50-50.

Yes, the Lions played very well in the first leg of the finals at the Jalan Besar Stadium - they were constantly on the attack and showed good team work, particularly with their skilful passes. The strategy was well-orchestrated. They won 3-1.

But in the second leg, they were merely defending their first-round win. It was disappointing to see the Lions withdraw and allow the Elephants to be constantly on the attack.

The Elephants played very well. They could easily have won the Cup.

Let us put aside the celebrations, and look at where the players went wrong in the second round of play in Thailand.

I hope that the players and the coach will review the match and learn from the mistakes.

Daniel Chia