SEA Games football: Coach pleased with how Young Lions responded after defeats

Nigel Chin
Reporter

The Young Lions defeated Laos 2-0 at the Selayang Stadium on Friday (18 August). Photo: Fadza Ishak/Yahoo News Singapore

REPORTING FROM KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

Singapore coach Richard Tardy said he was pleased with how his team bounced back from adversity in the first two games to clinch their first victory of the 2017 SEA Games football campaign.

Two quick goals from forwards Taufik Suparno and Ikhsan Fandi helped the Lions to a 2-0 win, although they had to endure an onslaught from Laos in the second half.

Prior to this game, the Young Lions lost to Myanmar and Malaysia, drastically reducing their chances of making it to the semi-finals.

Tardy, acknowledged that it has been a tough few days so far in Kuala Lumpur, and expressed some happiness at the team earning their first three points of the tournament.

“Today, we won the game and took all three points. I know it’s big pressure from people because they lost the first two games and people are talking bad about the results,” Tardy said, before emphasising that his team is a young one – a point he had been belabouring since the start of the football tournament.

“I said to my team after the lost to Malaysia that we need to take two wins over Laos and Brunei. Today, we have done 50 per cent of the job.

“Don’t forget, we played three games in five days, and the first two games were against strong teams (Malaysia and Myanmar).”

He also expressed his pleasure with the players who came into the team and made a difference, like Hanafi Akbar and Taufik Suparno.

Both were left off the starting line-up in the first two games. However, it was the duo that combined for the first goal, scored just two minutes into the game.

“I played them today because they are fresh and they played a strong game,” Tardy said.

“I thought they can help, and it proved that the players are ready at any moment. Today, I am happy about the performances, but don’t forget the players who have already played three games, such as Irfan (Fandi), Ikhsan (Fandi), who scored.”

Still, Tardy thought that the Young Lions could have done better in the second half.

“After scoring two quick goals, the players lost some concentration, thinking it will be easy,” Tardy stated.

“I think it’s important in football to respect the game and the team (you are playing against).”

On the other hand, Laos coach Mike Wong felt that his side gave Singapore too much respect, and in doing so, allowed Singapore to get off to a good start. Injuries also didn’t help matters, according to Wong, who was forced to make two substitutions before the 30th minute.

However, in the second half, he told his players to “play your normal game”, and that’s what made the difference.

“In the second half, if we put in a goal early, then the whole game would have been different,” Wong added.

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