National Team - Lions ● Oct 13, 2018

Lively Gabriel Quak shines in Lions win


Head Coach Fandi Ahmad praised Gabriel Quak’s performance after the winger turned in an effervescent display in the Lions’ 2-0 friendly victory over Mongolia on Friday night.


The attacker, who turns 28 in December, started on the left and kept the opposing defenders on their toes with his jinking runs and incisive play. Quak was equally effective when he drifted across the frontline and the Blue Wolves fouled him on numerous occasions, one of which resulted in the free-kick that Hariss Harun scored the first goal from.


“He did very well today,” Fandi asserted. “He was very lively, creative and motivated… He’s quite mobile everywhere, which is very good… hopefully he improves more on his game.”


Quak capped his performance with his third goal in 23 international appearances as he struck on 82 minutes, smartly clipping the ball over the goalkeeper from the edge of the area. It was also the first time he had completed a match in Singapore colours and the Royal Thai Navy FC player was, unsurprisingly, happy about it.


“To get my third goal and (also) 90 minutes after a long time… it’s a very good feeling,” he told the FAS website. “It’s not only good for me on a personal level, but I think there are also many good things like the win, the clean sheet and the general atmosphere in the team. Everybody is fighting hard and on their toes.


“Mongolia’s FIFA ranking (of 186th, 20 rungs below Singapore) isn’t a fair reflection of them; we watched videos of them and they are a decent attacking side, they’ve played a lot recently and they were very physical… they gave us a pretty good fight and I think 2-0 is a good reflection of the game.”


Quak linked up well with left-back Shakir Hamzah throughout the game both in offence – his goal came as a result of one of Shakir’s overlapping runs – and defence, which pleased Fandi as well.


“With a left-back like Shakir, who will always overlap, we don’t want to leave a gap there so that’s why he (Quak) needs to be more disciplined, which we have already told him,” he said. “And he did it very well today… that’s good and I’m happy for him.”

The combination down the left with is something Quak himself relishes, having played with the Home United defender on a few occasions now.


“We both know each other’s style of play and I feel very comfortable with him,” he said. “He likes to overlap and it makes my job so much easier as I always know there’s an option on my left; I don’t need to look and I know where he is!


“Defending-wise, I always tell my full-back I need a lot of talking (and he does that)…. if we work together, it’s easier and at certain times we don’t need to keep running (aimlessly), we just need to shift (into the right positions) and he makes it a lot easier.”


Quak did highlight the need to start matches on a strong note, which was raised by Fandi after the game as well, noting that better teams will punish the Lions’ sloppiness.


“Other than being tactically disciplined, we have to be focused also,” he said. “If we go down early on, we’ve got to play catch-up and it is not easy… we should try to finish off teams as early as possible.”


The former LionsXII and Geylang International attacker is also keen to shift his attention to the next match against Cambodia, which will be played on Tuesday in Phnom Penh.


“I think this next one month is very crucial (as we build up towards the Suzuki Cup) day by day so after this win, let’s put it aside and focus on Cambodia next,” he said. “Cambodia is definitely going to be much tougher opposition… it’s going to be full house and they will be eager to perform.”