National Team - Lions ● Sep 23, 2022
Lions face India in final match of friendly tournament
Ikhsan Fandi in training, 22 September 2022
HO CHI MINH CITY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2022 – The Singapore Men’s National Team will take on India tomorrow evening in their second and final match of the Hung Thinh International Football Tournament 2022.
Having fallen to a 4-0 defeat in the opener against Vietnam on Tuesday, the Lions know that they have to put on a better show against another higher-ranked opponent back at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City.
The last encounter between both sides in October 2012 ended in a 2-0 victory for Singapore at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, with Khairul Amri and Fazrul Nawaz on target in the friendly.
Now led by former international Igor Štimac, part of Croatia’s bronze-medal side at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and an ex-player of Derby County and West Ham United, the Blue Tigers sit 104th in the FIFA rankings. They enter this match off the back of a perfect three-game streak in June’s AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, which saw them make the showpiece tournament for a second consecutive edition for the first time.
Takayuki Nishigaya, 22 September 2022
Takayuki Nishigaya is aware of the challenge that India will pose. “Their individual qualities are very high and likewise, they also have very good fitness and technical levels, while we also have to be able to cope with their pressing,” he told FAS.org.sg.
The Japanese noted the attacking strengths of India, who will be led by captain and legend Sunil Chhetri. Still going strong at 38, the forward has scored an incredible 84 times in 129 international appearances – putting him joint-fifth on the list of all-time international goalscorers and the third-highest among active players, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Alongside him, Lallianzuala Chhangte has been in prolific form for Mumbai City of late, while the likes of Anirudh Thapa and Brandon Fernandes are expected to dictate play in the middle of the park.
Irfan Fandi in training, 22 September 2022
Having fielded a line-up that allowed him to assess options against Vietnam, which saw Joshua Pereira handed his first cap and also some less experienced players take to the field, Nishigaya noted that he will “choose my best players” on Saturday. This could mean the restoration of Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi, who were not involved two evenings ago as they were recovering from injuries, although Shahdan Sulaiman could remain sidelined with illness. In goal, Hassan Sunny is set to make his 100th international appearance, which would make him only the second goalkeeper to achieve this feat for Singapore after David Lee.
Nishigaya urged his charges to put the first defeat out of their minds and focus on a better performance and result against India, saying: “We have to remind ourselves of our strengths and what we have to do against these teams.”
Kick-off will be at 8pm and fans will be able to catch the match LIVE at youtube.com/c/nextsports.