Singapore seek bronze redemption

After their dreams of a first-ever SEA Games gold went up in smoke following defeat to Thailand in the semi-finals, the Young Lions do battle with their Causeway rivals for third
After their heart-breaking 1-0 loss to Thailand in the semi-finals, Singapore now have to bounce back from disappointment when they take on Malaysia tonight for the SEA Games bronze medal.

A defensive error led to a penalty conceded by right-back Madhu Mohana, which was dispatched coolly by Praweenwat Boonyong on 24 minutes. That proved to be the winner for the War Elephants, thus ending the Young Lions' hopes of a first-ever gold in the tournament.

Now, they face Causeway rivals Malaysia in the third/fourth-placing game, in a bid for some sort of redemption.

Ong Kim Swee's defending champions - who had won the previous two editions - were bundled out on penalties by a spirited Indonesia side after a 1-1 draw at full time, with neither side finding the net in extra time. The Young Tigers will be similarly out to reclaim some pride themselves, which should set us up for a good clash.

Both teams battled it out to a 1-1 draw earlier in the group stages, with Afiq Yunos's tap-in cancelled out by a late free-kick from Rozaimi Rahman. In truth, the Malaysians were the better side and they will be keen to prove it with victory in this encounter.

Coach Aide Iskandar is not expected to make too many changes to his usual starting line-up, although it would be somewhat of a letdown if fleet-footed winger Gabriel Quak does not feature more prominently. Sahil Suhaimi and Shahfiq Ghani will lead the front-line and they have to be much more clinical, with the latter having not lived up to his promise so far.

The Singapore defence has to be careful not to give away set-pieces, which they have looked susceptible from given two of the three goals they have conceded in this tournament were from free-kicks. A big performance from captain Hariss Harun will be needed in order for the team to avoid being overrun in the middle of the park.

For Malaysia, Irfan Fazail remains their key man with his ability to split open any defence with his through balls if given the slightest opportunity. Rozaimi will be an obvious threat from set-pieces as well, while wonderkid Nazmi Faiz can always make an impact off the bench.

While it's only the bronze and not gold at stake, both sides should not be holding back in their last chance to salvage something from this SEA Games.