AffSuzukiCup2020 ● Dec 24, 2021
Lions out to finish the job against Indonesia in AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 semis
Ikhsan Fandi scores, 22 December 2021
SINGAPORE, 24 DECEMBER 2021 – After a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the first leg on Wednesday, Singapore are gunning to finish the job against Indonesia in the second leg of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) 2020 Suzuki Cup semi-finals on Saturday night.
A second-half rally at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub saw Tatsuma Yoshida’s charges equalise – the third straight time Singapore have attained a draw in the first leg of this stage at this competition.
In 2012, the Lions held the Philippines 0-0 in Manila before edging them 1-0 back home en route to winning their fourth regional title, while in 2008 they held Vietnam goal-less in Hanoi before losing 1-0 at home.
Speaking to FAS.org.sg, Ikhsan Fandi urged his side to follow the victorious script from nine years ago and defeat a young but gritty Indonesian side.
“Now that we have played against them, we know what their strengths and weaknesses are,” the 22-year-old said. “Coach Tatsuma has a game plan for us – we just have to focus on carrying it out right and we should be able to get the job done.”
Ikhsan Fandi celebrates, 22 December 2021
The Singapore number nine added that he is fully fit and ready to go again on Christmas Day, having asked to be brought off after scoring against the Garuda.
“I felt something in my leg, but now I am okay,” he said. “It felt really good to be on the scoresheet again and it gives me a lot of confidence. It was a bit difficult to get some goals in the previous few games because I was not involved much.
“In the first half, their defence was pretty tight on me and I did not have much time on the ball, it was more of just me chasing it. But when Elkan (Baggott) came in (at half-time), he gave me a chance to use my pace and power to beat him so I tried to do that a lot.
“I created a couple of chances and corners from that; it was a good fight and I am looking forward to another great battle in the second leg.”
Amy Recha takes a shot, 22 December 2021
There are other attacking options for the Lions, with Amy Recha chomping at the bit to make an impression after putting in a superb shift against Indonesia on his fifth international appearance.
Having replaced Ikhsan for the final 20 minutes, the 29-year-old was a real livewire as he kept the Indonesian defence on their toes and almost netted his maiden international goal.
“For me, it does not matter if I play 10 minutes or 90 as I always give my best for every game and try to follow Coach’s instructions,” he told FAS.org.sg. “I really enjoyed myself that day because it was the kind of game I like to play in – running and pressing, that is my strength.
“I believe that for every player that has been called up, there is a reason behind it and Coach trusts us to get the job done. So for me, I will always be ready when called upon. One thing about Coach Tatsuma is that his tactics are always spot-on and he knows when to bring on players to change the game.”
Amy Recha in action, 22 December 2021
It has been a dream come true for Amy to feature in his first-ever Suzuki Cup after coming off a breakthrough season with Geylang International in 2021. Scoring a career-high 12 goals to finish as the second-top local scorer in the AIA Singapore Premier League, Amy was recalled into the Lions fold for the first time since 2016 and subsequently named in the final squad.
His Indonesian heritage also made playing against the birth country of his mother a little more special.
“My mum is from Surabaya and I was born there and raised for a few years in Batam, before moving to Singapore as a young boy,” he said.
“So, it is always special if I play against Indonesia, even in the past at age-group level. Some of my family members are living over there, but they still keep supporting me although I am representing Singapore. I hope to get a few more minutes on Saturday again to show what I can do.”
Singapore huddle, 22 December 2021
As for Ikhsan, there is an eye on the Golden Boot – he is one goal behind joint-top scorers Teerasil Dangda (Thailand), Safawi Rasid (Malaysia) and Bienvenido Marañón (Philippines) – but he is adamant that the team comes first.
The attacker, who will link up with elder brother Irfan at BG Pathum United for the second half of the 2021-22 Thai League 1 season, is out to repay the faith shown by Coach Tatsuma despite his lack of game time with Norwegian second-tier side FC Jerv this year.
“For the last seven games or so for Jerv, I only played around 20 minutes so I really appreciate Coach still having the trust in me to get the job done,” he said. “Now that I have played five games over the past month and played almost the full 90 minutes each time, my fitness is getting better and I can be more of a threat for the team.
“At the start of the tournament when I began with two goals against Myanmar, I had a goal (to finish as top scorer). But if the team wins games and I do not score, that is fine with me. It has been great to be playing in front of the home fans and we really hope we can go on to achieve something as a team to reward them for their unwavering support.”