Jordan - Singapore preview: Lions look to exorcise Amman ghosts
The Lions are set to re-visit the place where their hopes of qualifying for their first-ever AFC Asian Cup blew up in smoke in their last campaign.
By Kenneth Tan
B.Yaseen - Mustafa - Sulaeman - Al-Dimeiri
Murjan- Deeb (c) - Abu Hash'hash - Khalil
Bawab - Hasan
Ismail - Safuwan - Baihakki - Shaiful
Noh - Isa
Idros - Shahril(c) - Shahdan
The stage is set – the first game of the Lions' 2015 AFC Asian Cup campaign against Jordan.
This game is significant in so many ways for Singaporeans, there is little reminder needed on how agonisingly close the Lions came to qualifying for the last tournament in 2011.
The two teams faced off in Amman back in 2010 in their last group match, with the Lions needing only a point from the affair to qualify for the tournament proper due to a one-point advantage over their opponents.
Then, Odai Al-Saify gave the home side the lead in the first-half, but Noh Alam Shah re-ignited the Lions’ hope with an equaliser right after the break.
However, they were unable to hold on with Bani Yaseen’s header on the hour mark seeing the Jordanians qualify at the expense of the Lions.
That arguably sparked the start of the lowest ebb in Singapore football until the unexpected victorious AFF Suzuki Cup campaign late last year.
Successfully conquering the region, the onus is on V Sundrammorthy’s side to cement their place among Asia’s best.
However, it looks like an uphill task being grouped in a tough group consisting of Jordan, Oman and Syria, thus the Lions will need to hit the ground running.
Quarter-finalists in the 2011 edition and currently ranked 95th in the world, the Jordanians are their toughest opponents in the group and look a frightening prospect. A 5-0 win over Indonesia last Thursday only serves as a reminder of the quality amongst their side.
The Lions also have a notorious record against Middle East teams, with only a 2-0 win over Iraq in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in recent history to boast of.
Furthermore, Singapore have played Bahrain in a warm-up game last week and lost 3-1 in the affair with Safuwan Baharudin scoring the solitary goal for the visitors – not the most positive of signs of things to come on Wednesday night.
Interim coach Sundram experimented with two different sides in that affair and is likely to adopt a more cautious lineup come matchday.
That should see the recalled Noh Rahman sitting in midfield alongside Isa Halim, to allow attackers Firdaus Idros, Shahril Ishak and Shahdan Sulaiman to support lone forward Fazrul Nawaz.
Otherwise Erwan Gunawan will provide good foil upfront if Sundram opts to play Fazrul in Idros' position.
At the back, the only mystery remaining is whether Daniel Bennett will get the nod over Ismail Yunos at the right-back position due to his massive international experience.
In any case, the rock-solid partnership of Safuwan and Baihakki are set to stay as they attempt to foil the Jordanian attackers.
The match will kick-off on Wednesday, February 6, 10pm Singapore time.
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Top 3 Predictions
Jordan 8-0 Singapore
- 13.79 %
Jordan 1-2 Singapore
- 7.88 %
Jordan 2-1 Singapore
- 6.9 %
|Asia - Asian Cup Qualification (ACQ)||Feb 4, 2014||Singapore 1 - Jordan 3|
|Asia - Asian Cup Qualification (ACQ)||Feb 6, 2013||Jordan 4 - Singapore 0|
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Asia) (WCQA)||Nov 12, 2011||Jordan 2 - Singapore 0|
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Asia) (WCQA)||Oct 11, 2011||Singapore 0 - Jordan 3|
|Mar 5, 2014||Jordan 2 - Syria 1||ACQ|
|Feb 4, 2014||Singapore 1 - Jordan 3||ACQ|
|Jan 31, 2014||Oman 0 - Jordan 0||ACQ|
|Nov 21, 2013||Uruguay 0 - Jordan 0||WCQ|
|Nov 13, 2013||Jordan 0 - Uruguay 5||WCQ|
|-||Shadi Abu Hashhash|
|19||Anas Bani Yaseen||Defender|
|-||Abdallah Deeb Salim|
|9||Odai Al Saify||Striker|
|-||Mohammad Al Dahoud|
|6||Saeed Al Murjan||Midfielder|
|11||Ra'ed Al Nawateer||Striker|
|-||Hamza Al Daradreh|