Stange under no illusions about last two games

Consadole Sapporo draw 0-0 against Gamba Osaka in J-League

Singapore coach Bernd Stange is under no illusions about the importance of his side's next two games in the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.

The Lions are currently third in Group E of the qualifying campaign after gleaning four points from their four games thus far.

Singapore have just two games left in the second round of the qualifying campaign, against Afghanistan and Cambodia, and must take maximum points in hopes of moving into the top two places in the group in order to secure a berth at the Asian Cup.

However, Stange says Afghanistan – ranked 27 places above his side at 130th but currently fourth in the group on three points – will not be pushovers.

"Winning the matches against Afghanistan and Cambodia will be important if we want to qualify directly for the Asian Cup," he told the New Paper.

"I am confident that we can achieve good results in both matches if our players continue to work hard and play our passing style of football.

"I have been monitoring Afghanistan's results and they did well against Thailand and were unfortunate to lose 2-0 before Japan beat them 6-0.

"Let's not forget that they are almost 30 places above us in the Fifa rankings as well. We will prepare well for both matches, and we want to get two good performances and more importantly, two good results."

The games against Afghanistan and Cambodia will take place on October 8th and 13th respectively. Both will be played at the National Stadium in Singapore.

Should Stange’s side finish first in the group or as one of the best four runners-up across all eight groups, they will qualify directly for the Asian Cup and for the third round of 2018 World Cup qualifying.

The four worst runners-up, the third-placed sides and the four best fourth-placed teams will advance to the third round of Asian Cup qualifying.

The remaining 12 teams will compete in a play-off round to secure one of the last eight berths in the third round of Asian Cup qualification.