Football: Young Lions' travails show little signs of abating

Young Lions' Irfan Fandi (No. 15) and Jordan Chan (No. 4) competing for the ball against India's U-23 side at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium. Both teams play again on Wednesday.
Young Lions' Irfan Fandi (No. 15) and Jordan Chan (No. 4) competing for the ball against India's U-23 side at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium. Both teams play again on Wednesday.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Goals continue to prove elusive for Singapore's SEA Games football team as they drew a blank in last night's 1-0 loss to India's Under-23 side in a friendly match at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.

This was the Republic's seventh loss in 10 matches since the start of the year and more worryingly for coach Richard Tardy, he has seen his team manage just eight goals and fail to score in six of those games.

Singapore face India again on Wednesday at the same venue before flying off for this month's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship qualifiers in Myanmar.

They then travel to Malaysia for next month's SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur with hopes of winning a medal, particularly after a fortuitous draw that has seen them avoid defending champions Thailand and dark horses Vietnam and Indonesia.

Singapore have been drawn in Group A with hosts Malaysia, Myanmar, Brunei and Laos.

Tardy said yesterday: "Before the AFC U-23 Championship, we're a little disappointed with the result, but we can keep the confidence.

"We want to reduce the mistakes in the next game against India. I know Myanmar (who Singapore will play against), they have good possession and a good striker.

"To be better defensively, we must keep more of the ball."

Against India, Singapore fashioned few chances throughout the match and rarely troubled the visitors.

After a goalless first half, Indian midfielder Germanpreet Singh, who was left unmarked in the box, gave his side the lead with a curling effort that flew into the top corner.

Singapore captain Shahrin Saberin said the result was a good wake-up call for him and his fellow team-mates.

The 22-year-old defender added: "It's a good experience for our team to be exposed against this kind of opponent. Even though they're new as a team, they played quite well and gave us a good fight."

Winger Hanafi Akbar, 22, remained confident that Singapore would rediscover that cutting edge. He said: "We're not very worried about it because we still have time. We're going to work hard in training and the goals will come."

Meanwhile in Thailand, Singapore's U-15s lost 2-0 to Laos in their Asean Football Federation U-15 Championship Group A opener.

Their next match will be against Australia tomorrow. Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand are in the same group.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2017, with the headline 'Young Lions' travails show little signs of abating'. Print Edition | Subscribe