|By Khalis Rifhan
All eyes were certainly on Singapore captain Shahril Ishak as he grabbed a brace and secured three points for Singapore against arch rivals Malaysia in their opening game of AFF Suzuki Cup.
But credit has to be given to custodian Izwan Mahbud for being a safe pair of hands when he was called upon for duty.
Faced with strikes from Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Safee Sali, Izwan stood firm and denied them on several occasions, especially in the second half.
For Izwan, he felt that his defenders have to be given a mention as they were responsible for keeping the team in the game too.
“Overall the team helps me a lot," said the 22-year-old.
"The defenders did their job well and I think we had a good game, in all areas.”
“Of course it was quite nervous [facing the pressure in the second half] as we never know what can happen in a game.
“But we coped well in such situations. We worked hard together and won the game as a team.
“Definitely we go into every game positively but I never expected to win by such a scoreline. We are now looking forward to the next game.”
For the hero of the night Shahril Ishak, his mind was also now on the next match against Indonesia on Wednesday.
“For us we have done our job [against Malaysia] and we look forward for the second game,” said the Singapore captain.
“We will give our best and there is no easy game for us. We respect every team in the tournament.”
“Coach [Raddy] had a plan for us and hopefully we will do well in the tournament.”
Singapore next take on Indonesia on November 28. The Garudas were held to a surprise 2-2 draw in their opening match against Laos.