|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
Despite optimism surrounding the Warriors FC camp prior to their AFC Cup match against Semen Padang, they were brought down to reality as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Indonesian side, sending them crashing out of the competition.
Although the Singapore side started the game well, things went downhill midway through the first half and heads dropped as the halftime interval came, with the players looking as though they had given up all hope in the second half.
“Maybe it was frustration as we were missing lots of chances and I feel bad for my defence as they worked very hard and [we were] frustrated we were not converting chances," Warriors coach V. Selvaraj pointed out.
“We started to put more men forward and lost a bit of shape and they [Padang] caught us on the break and certain times, we paid a heavy price for it.
“For past games we have been giving away soft goals through individual mistakes. We could have kept it simple at the back and all I can do is to remind them how important it is to remain focus at that crucial moment.”
But according to Selvaraj, the outcome may have been different had his players been more clinical in front of goal.
“To be honest, we created more chances over here; even though they have fast players but standard-wise, we are still up there and all we need is a bit more confidence," he claimed.
"Sufian [Anuar] and Kari [Mislav Karoglan] and even [Tatsuro] Inui - had they been sharper, we could have been three goals up in the first 20 minutes. So I would say that our local teams are still good enough and way above Indonesian teams.
“I would want them to be more confident in front of goal, which is one problem we have. In all the three [matches] that we have won in the S.League, we have scored at least three goals and at the back we need to keep it simple.
"We need to work on this and hope to do better in the league, which I believe we can.”
With his team out of the competition, and their next match against Kitchee SC on May 1 being inconsequential, Selvaraj took the opportunity to question the AFC’s handling of the match schedule.
“We have proved that we can score goals but honestly we can’t play a three o’clock game - that is the biggest hurdle and I just can’t understand it," he said.
"Their floodlights and the field are in good order, but [I don't understand] why we can’t play night games, and even our opponent can’t understand it too.
“To be frank, [in] those games the heat killed us and this does not help us, and we suffered then and we can’t really move around easily and can’t be confident in front of goal, so we score more at home than away matches.”