Bernd Stange's side travel to Tehran to try and complete an unlikely double against the bottom-placed team in their 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualification Group A campaignDespite their sensational 2-1 victory at the Jalan Besar Stadium last month, an understrength Singapore team have it all to do to try and complete an unlikely double over bottom-placed Syria in their 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualification tie on Friday evening.
Singapore coach Bernd Stange looks set to continue his long-term approach to slowly build for the future by including more youngsters in the team.
The German has selected a relatively young squad, with 13 out of the 20 players eligible to play for the SEA Games next month. With a host of players unavailable to make it for the trip, the Singapore team looks short of experienced players.
Hariss Harun, who impressed in the reverse fixture last month, is suspended, along with the experienced Baihakki Khaizan. Safuwan Baharudin, Shaiful Esah and Madhu Mohana are also unavailable for the tie.
With the lack of players available, Singapore’s defense can potentially be a weak link, with Shakir Hamzah, Faritz Hameed and Hafiz Sujad the only notable defenders in the squad. Afiq Yunos, Delwinder Singh and Zulfadli Zainal Abidin are relatively inexperienced at international level.
In midfield, Isa Halim is set to partner Shahdan Sulaiman in the middle of the park, with Faris Ramli and Gabrial Quak working their magic on the wings.
In terms of attack, the Lions would have to rely on the experience and guile of captain Shahril Ishak, as well as Khairul Amri, who scored the first goal in the 2-1 victory last month, to lead the line.
Syria, on the other hand, would be looking to set things right after their surprise defeat at the hands of the Lions in the previous fixture. With only one point from four games, new coach Hussam Am Sayed's side have virtually no chance of qualifying from the group.
However, the Middle-Eastern outfit would want some form of revenge against Singapore and set things right after their below-par performance at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Aside from injured striker Raja Rafe, Syria has a full strength squad at its disposal. Ahmad Al Douni was Syria’s main threat against Singapore the last time round, and it is very likely that the playmaker will keep Singapore’s makeshift defense busy throughout the game.
Without key players and home support, the Lions would likely struggle in Tehran against a Syria team who would be looking to put in a better performance than the one they produced last month.