|FROM Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Khalis Rifhan
After a dream start against Malaysia in the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup, Singapore were brought back to reality as they suffered a heart-breaking loss to Indonesia in their second match.
The Lions had cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory against the hosts, but faltered at the next hurdle as they were not able to penetrate the Merah Putih backline.
Substitute Andik Vermanshah scored the only goal of the game two minutes from time to secure the Indonesians' first win over Singapore in the competition since its inception in 1996.
Despite the loss, midfielder Mustafic Fahrudin stood tall for the Lions in the game as he frustrated the opponents with his presence in the middle of the field.
While accepting the result, the Serbia-born player clearly felt that his team should not have lost the game.
“We were confident of getting at least a point or a victory but in the end, we got nothing," the hardman lamented.
“We [may have] lost to Indonesia but [we will give] credit to them as they fought till the very end and eventually they got a goal. We have to forget about this defeat and look forward to the game against Laos.”
When asked whether he felt that the team was unlucky to have gone away empty handed, Mustafic agreed: “I think so; we created enough chances in the game and to me it was a clear penalty [on Khairul Amri, who was booked for a dive instead]. Then, we hit the bar so I feel we had chances to score but in the end it was not to be for us."
Ahead of their final game against Laos, Mustafic called upon his teammates to be mentally prepared and not take things for granted.
“We have to forget the loss and focus for the game against Laos," he rallied.
"Go out there, think about nothing else but a win against Laos and [we will] qualify for the semi-final.
“They (Laos) are also tough as there is no easy opponent. They were unlucky not to win against Indonesia. All the matches in the competition [have] proved that there is no easy game.
“We really have to be ready for Laos and go all out and win it.”