Depleted Lions face Iraq in Doha with only pride to play for
Saeed, Rehema, Shakir, Abbas,
Akram, Mulla, Munir, Jassim,
Shaiful, Baihakki, Bennett, Ruzaini,
Isa, Mustafic, Shahril, Sulaiman,
A depleted Singapore side face Iraq in the neutral venue of Doha, Qatar in their final group match having lost all their previous group matches. Hariss Harun, Safuwan Baharudin, Shakir Hamzah and winger Yasir Hanapi would be missing the match as they have not been given permission to travel due to their National Service commitments.
With little more than pride to play for, the Lions face an uphill task against an Iraqi side that has won its last 5 matches. Although the Lions have no chance of progressing to the next round, fans still expect a positive performance from the team and the missing players would certainly be a blow to Avramovic's preparations, as all four are highly regarded within the Singapore camp, and are integral to the team's future.
In their absence, the Lions would look to inspirational captain Shahril Ishak to cause the Iraqi defence problems, who has been in hot form for his club side LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League and has grabbed five goals in his last three league matches. The comeback from 2 goals down to draw 2-2 against Azerbaijan last Friday should have improved the team morale.
Iraq had a poor performance in their last match, a friendly against Lebanon who fielded a weakened side and won 1-0. The Lions have to watch 24-year-old supporting striker Karrar Jassim who boasts explosive speed and fine technique. His quick movement and pin-point passes must be watched for the Lions to garner a favourable result.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- In the corresponding home fixture, Singapore lost 2-0 in September 2011 at Jalan Besar Stadium to goals from Alaa Abdul Zahra and Younis Mahmoud Khalaf.
- Singapore have lost all 5 group games so far.
- Iraq have been forced to play all their home matches at a neutral venue, like Doha, Qatar for the Singapore fixture, due to safety concerns.
- Singapore have scored just once in the group stages of the qualifiers and it was in the opening match against China.
- Singapore's only goal scorer in this stage of the competition, Aleksandr Duric, was not even selected this time around.
- Both Iraq and Jordan top the group and have been assured of qualifications, though both teams share the same number of points.