National Team - Lions ● Jan 02, 2023
Crunch derby for Lions against Malaysia
Takayuki Nishigaya, 2 January 2023
KUALA LUMPUR, 2 JANUARY 2023 – A place in the semi-finals is on the line for the Lions when they face rivals Malaysia in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022.
One point ahead of third-placed Malaysia, Singapore know that avoiding defeat at Bukit Jalil National Stadium in their final Group B match will seal a berth in the next round for the second edition running.
The 145th-ranked hosts, who need nothing less than three points, last played on 27 December 2022 and Singapore head coach Takayuki Nishigaya acknowledged that they have the advantage both in terms of recovery time and the home crowd.
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However, the Japanese believes that his charges simply have to concentrate on the task at hand in order to get the job done.
“This game is going to be a very big game, so we do not have to think about these (other factors), and we just have to think about the game,” he said at the pre-match press conference today afternoon. “Of course we have to play accordingly (to the situation) but our style of play is not going to change – we will attack as much as possible.
“I totally understand Malaysia’s situation. They have to win and they are good (at both) attacking and defending; it is going to be hard for us but we just have to focus on what we have to do.”
Bukit Jalil National Stadium, 2 January 2023
While Kim Pan-gon has had to make do without players from domestic champions Johor Darul Ta’zim in his tournament squad, Harimau Malaya still possess plenty of quality. Selangor FC attacker Faisal Halim is joint-top of the scoring charts with three goals, while fellow forwards Safawi Rasid and Hakim Hassan are capable of supplying the ammunition and have bagged two assists each.
“We want to dominate the game, be more proactive, energetic and dynamic,” Kim said.
M. Anumanthan, 2 January 2023
This will be the second meeting between the Causeway rivals in 10 months, with the Lions having prevailed 2-1 in a friendly at the National Stadium in Singapore back in March 2022. Midfielder M. Anumanthan is looking forward to tomorrow’s encounter and echoed his head coach’s sentiments.
“Right now, we have a good team spirit and when we go into games, we want to help each other,” he said. “It is more exciting because it is Singapore and Malaysia but most importantly, we have a goal in mind and that is to qualify.”
Kick-off will be at 8.30pm Singapore time and the match will be broadcast LIVE on meWATCH.