Deadball situations can keep Lions alive
Indonesia can score goals but Lions can hurt them from set-pieces, says our analyst
SINGAPORE v INDONESIA
(Today, 7.30pm, Singtel TV Ch 114 & StarHub TV Ch 208)
Most people are saying this match against Indonesia is a must-win for Singapore.
But, like this newspaper rightly pointed out, the Lions can still go through with a goalless draw, if Thailand beat the Philippines by at least two goals in the other Group A game.
We know that in football, anything can happen.
Against Thailand on Tuesday, Singapore had five good attacks when the score was still 0-0, and should have scored three.
Thailand had just one clear chance when Teerasil Dangda missed with an open header, but still won 1-0.
Such is the nature of football that everyone has an opinion - I once said that you have five million coaches in Singapore.
It is very easy to say V Sundramoorthy could have played this formation or he should have picked another player.
But who is in charge of the team? Sundram is, and he should be left alone to do his job.
I don't think that out of the blue, he will tell his players for tonight's game against Indonesia: "Let's go all-out attack."
I can see the Lions will keep a tight defence and try to attack more than they did in their first two group games.
Indonesia have always given Singapore problems every time both teams met. We lost to them 1-0 in the group stage at the 2012 Suzuki Cup before we went on to become champions.
With four goals in two games, the Indonesians have shown they can score, and they have fast players who can hurt teams like Thailand and the Philippines.
That said, Singapore also have a good defence and I believe they can cope with the danger.
Indonesia have also conceded six times in two games.
They are a good attacking side, but they have more weaknesses in defence, so I'm sure Sundram and his team would have analysed their matches to find areas to penetrate.
One way to do so is from set-pieces.
We have seen how Myanmar came from behind to beat Cambodia 3-1 with goals from a free-kick and a corner.
Three of the four goals in the 2-2 draw between the Philippines and Indonesia were also scored from free-kicks.
For me, that is the best game plan because Singapore have that strength and quality even though they have not managed to capitalise on their set-pieces so far.
In their defeat by Thailand, the ball fell to Safuwan Bahrudin and Hariss Harun in the box, but they didn't expect it. They must improve in those situations.
Singapore's attackers must take advantage of corner-kicks from Faris Ramli and long throws by Madhu Mohana.
Up front, Khairul Amri has been a pleasant surprise for me because it has been a long time since I have seen him so active and so involved in trying to do something for the team.
That's a positive, although he needs more support and I think Faris can offer that support for Amri in the attacking third.
In the end, it is all about teamwork.
If the Philippines don't beat Thailand, and if Sundram puts together the right team with the right attitude, Singapore have what it takes to beat Indonesia and make it to the semi-finals.
- Radojko Avramovic is the most successful national team coach in the history of Singapore football. He led the Lions from 2003 to 2012 and won the AFF Championship in 2004, 2007 and 2012 to become the first and only coach to win the title three times. Avramovic was speaking to David Lee.
- FOX Sports is proud to be the exclusive pay-TV broadcaster for the 11th edition of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup. The biennial championship gathers South-east Asia's top national teams to vie to be crowned kings of football in the region. FOX Sports will be showing all 18 games live on both its network and its online FOX Sports Play offering. Leading the team in the FOX Sports studio will be industry veteran Steve Dawson and former Singapore international John Wilkinson, with insights from former Suzuki Cup coaches, Steve Darby and record three-time title-winning coach, Radojko "Raddy" Avramovic.