Singapore head coach Fandi Ahmad felt that his side did enough to secure a point in their 1-0 loss to the Philippines in their 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup Group B encounter on Tuesday night at Bacolod.
The Lions were coming off a 1-0 win at home to Indonesia while the Azkals were participating in their first match of the tournament under new coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.
It was a cagey affair with neither side able to control proceedings but the home team snatched maximum points when Patrick Reichelt popped up with the winner in the 76th minute.
Despite suffering his first loss as Singapore head coach, Fandi praised his team for their fighting spirit and rued their luck from set-pieces.
“Congratulations to the Philippines. They did their best while we were unlucky with injuries. We had a few good chances from set-pieces so I thought a draw would be a fair result,” Fandi said.
“I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get at least a point. It was a sloppy goal on our part. We allowed them to score, as they built up from a throw-in so I hope the boys learn from this and take it into the next game.”
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The Lions have an eight-day break before they face Timor-Leste at the National Stadium on November 21, but Fandi will be sweating on the fitness of key players Shahril Ishak and Faris Ramli.
Faris came off with a hamstring injury in the 67th minute and was replaced by Shahril, who was then substituted out with what looked like a dislocated shoulder after going into a challenge.
Fandi revealed that even without Faris’ injury, his game plan was to bring on Shahril late into the game to bring a different dimension to the Lions’ strike force.
“We wanted to bring Shahril on in the last 30 to 35 minutes because he can do something there but too bad, he had a bad fall on his shoulder and also, Faris has a hamstring problem,” Fandi added.
“We will now have to look at the injuries of the two players and make changes accordingly. We lacked that penetrative pass from midfield so tactically, we have to make changes and maybe even change our formation.”
While Singapore will regroup over the next eight days, the Lions will be anxiously waiting on the results from the two matches on November 17 when Philippines take on Timor-Leste while Thailand entertain Indonesia at home.