In front of some 28,000 spectators at the National Stadium, Argentina’s national football team handed Singapore a 6-0 loss.
In the end, the final score from the international friendly between Singapore and Argentina was as expected – a one-sided game that resulted in a 6-0 victory for the visitors, ranked second in the FIFA rankings.
While it took them almost 25 minutes to break the deadlock through Federico Fazio, there would be no stopping Argentina at the National Stadium. Joaquin Correa scored 10 minutes later to extend the lead, before Alejandro Gomez, Leandro Paredes, Lucas Alarto and Angel Di Maria added to the scoreline in the second half.
The Lions, ranked 157th, had no answers for their more illustrious opponents. Unsurprisingly, the Lions failed to register a single shot on target, and rarely made a foray into Argentina’s half, let alone their penalty box.
While the gap in technical skills could not be faulted, some fans at the game told Yahoo Singapore that the Lions could have certainly put in more effort.
One of them, Clement Raj, 35, a long time Argentina fan who wore a Lions jersey, said, “You can see that the boys gave their best, but after they conceded the goals in the first half, you can tell their morale went down.
“That’s something they definitely can improve on.”
Another, 16-year-old Matthew Chin, felt that the game got “a bit boring towards the end”.
“You can see both teams not trying as hard to attack, especially Singapore,” said Chin.
“I think (Singapore) tried in the first half but towards the end, you can tell they were fatigued and tired, and didn’t really try.”
The hosts were evidently tired, especially since they were playing just three days after a 2-1 defeat to Chinese Taipei.
Three players – Hassan Sunny, Irfan Fandi and Shakir Hamzah, had to be substituted due to injury concerns. Izwan Mahbud, sent on for Hassan, was also visibly struggling with a muscle injury.
Some members of the media also observed that a couple of Singapore players appeared to have exchange jerseys with their opponents at half-time. Shirt-swapping before full time is a practice that is frowned upon in professional games.
Another fan, 28-year-old Alan Tan, felt that the Singapore team did not show enough “desire” in the game.
“I can understand probably most of them are in the fasting month but still, they should have put in more effort… Both teams didn’t put in a lot of effort to be fair,” said Tan, who paid $80 for his ticket.
During the post-match press conference, Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli admitted he was disappointed that his side scored only two goals before halftime. “That’s where we failed, in terms of structure and dominating the game that the match deserved,” he said.
“If we were structured and dominated the game in the first half, the score margin would have been much more but this is something we can correct.”
Singapore head coach Sundram said his players “tried their best” considering the circumstances.
“We are playing against a top team in the world… they learned a couple of lessons and let’s move on,” said Sundram.
“More importantly, you can see how superior they are in rotating the ball. We sat deep and tried to organise our line. The boys were tired and we needed to just try to do our best.”
His expression tightened up however, when asked about his players exchanging jerseys at half time.
“It should be done after the game, that’s my impression,” he said with a straight face.
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