Four key duels for Singapore V Taiwan
The New Paper looks at the key match-ups for the Singapore-Taiwan tie
1. SAFUWAN BAHARUDIN V YAKI YEN
With chief striker Khairul Amri ruled out due to illness, PDRM star Safuwan could lead the Lions' frontline tonight.
The 25-year-old started his professional career as a defender but, equally adept in attack, he has bagged eight goals in 10 games for the Malaysian Premier League side this season, including goals in six consecutive games before the international break.
With seven international goals, national coach V Sundramoorthy will be counting on him to end the Lions' scoring woes.
Spanish-born Yen, who has Taiwanese father and Spanish mother, plied his trade in Spain's lower leagues between 2008 and 2014, before signing for Chinese Super League club Changchun Yatai last year.
With six caps, the 1.84m-tall centre back may not be as experienced at the international level as Chen Ting-yang (20 caps), but Yen will surely play a key role in stopping Singapore from scoring.
2. FARIS RAMLI V XAVIER CHEN
Faris has been in red-hot form for Home United this season, having scored seven goals in the S.League.
With the last of his four international goals coming a year ago in the Lions' 1-0 win over Myanmar, Faris will be eager to transfer his club form to the international stage.
Belgian-born Chen, who has a Taiwanese father and French mother, began his youth career at Anderlecht and currently plays for KV Mechelen in the Belgian top flight.
While Chen has only eight international caps, the 32-year-old is easily the most experienced player in Taiwan's backline.
3. HARISS HARUN V CHEN PO-LIANG
This promises to be an interesting midfield battle.
Singapore vice-captain Hariss endured a slow start to his season when his loan move to Spanish club L'Hospitalet fell through, but the midfield enforcer has got back into the swing of things after joining Home United on loan from Johor Darul Ta'zim.
The 26-year-old's leadership in the centre of the park will be crucial to cutting Chen's supply to frontmen Wu Chun-ching and Chu En-le.
Chen, 28, plays for Hangzhou Greentown in the Chinese second division.
The midfielder was a recognised goal-scorer in his youth, and once trialled for Japanese club Yokohama F Marinos. Chen is also the team's de-facto penalty taker, scoring from the spot in their 3-1 Asian Cup qualifying loss to Turkmenistan.
4. DANIEL BENNETT V WU CHUN-CHING
Bennett, 39, has been a revelation at both club and international level in the last two years.
Largely overlooked by former national coach Bernd Stange, along with other senior players, the English-born defender's reading of the game has made him a key figure in the Lions' line-up, forming a good partnership with young centre back Irfan Fandi in the heart of defence.
Wu, 27, is the second-highest goal-scorer in the current Taiwan squad with eight goals, with Chen (18 goals) heading the list. Currently with third-tier Thai club Banbueng, Wu has already scored four goals for his country in their current Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
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