National Team - Lions ● Nov 14, 2018

Fandi ‘disappointed’ not to get draw after Lions defeat in Philippines


BACOLOD, 14 NOVEMBER 2018 – Fandi Ahmad believes that Singapore were a little unfortunate not to come away with a point from their clash with the Philippines on Tuesday night.


The Lions headed to Bacolod looking to build on last Friday’s 1-0 opening Group B win over Indonesia in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2018, but fell 1-0 to the Azkals at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium.


Patrick Reichelt’s strike in the 78th minute proved to be the difference in a tight game and Fandi felt that his charges should not be returning home empty-handed after a stout defensive display against an Azkals side ranked 49 rungs higher by FIFA.


“First and foremost, congratulations to Philippines,” he said at the post-match press conference. “We must give it to Philippines for pushing very hard towards the end; we were trying very hard (too) but too bad (we could not get a result)…


“Today we didn’t create enough chances like (we did in) the last game, that’s the difference. It’s not easy to play on this pitch because the cow grass is very slippery; other than that, I thought we contained them very well.


“We had some good (positions at) set-pieces that we didn’t finish (off) and I thought a draw could have been a good result for both (and I am) just a bit disappointed that we didn’t get a point.”


Sven-Goran Eriksson, who started off his Philippines reign with victory, begged to differ.


“Of course, (this was) a very good win, a very important win,” the Swede said. “I think we deserved it, we were the better team and we created more occasions (to score)… so I am very happy (and) I want to say ‘thank you’ to the players… (and) to the staff.”


Fandi also pointed out that his side were unlucky to see Faris Ramli come off with a hamstring injury on 67 minutes, only to see that compounded by another injury to his replacement, Shahril Ishak. The latter appeared to have injured his shoulder just five minutes after coming on due to a bad fall and had to come off for Jacob Mahler.


With the Lions having to travel ten hours to Bacolod on Saturday, Fandi acknowledged fatigue was also an issue in the final “15 to 20 minutes” but refused to use that as an excuse.


Instead, he noted that Reichelt’s goal was not a good one to concede – the 30-year-old latched on to a flick-on as the Lions were caught cold from a throw-in, before twisting and turning in the box to fire home.


“It was a bit (of a) sloppy goal (to concede) on our part (as) from the throw-in, we allowed it to happen,” Fandi said. “We hope that we can learn from (our mistakes in) this game today (for our next match).”


The team will depart for Singapore later today and look to regroup for their third match on 21 November against Timor Leste at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub.