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Tatsuma Yoshida must fix Singapore's leaky defence

11:42 PM IST 09/09/19
Baihakki Khaizan Singaproe
Singapore's defence must remain watertight if the Lions are to secure a win over Palestine...

Tatsuma Yoshida knows Singapore will have their hands full when they take on Palestine later at the Jalan Besar Stadium, in the Lions' second group match of their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Palestine pulled off a shock 2-0 win over Uzbekistan to top Group D and are now the current table toppers.

Yoshida's charges earned a point in their previous game against Yemen as they drew 2-2. It was the Japanese's first competitive game in charge and while some applauded him for playing attacking football - the draw ultimately felt like a defeat as Singapore had several chances to win the game.

Singapore's malaise and chief problem can be linked to its defence - which looked haphazard against Yemen. Yoshida's decision to pick Baihakki Khaizan instead of a more youthful option in Irfan Fandi proved to be his undoing.

While Baihakki brings with him bags of experience, he is not the fastest and is also on the wrong side of 30. In the later stages of the game against the Yemenis, the 35-year-old struggled to keep up with the demands of the game as he suffered cramps.

When pressed if he will stick to the current central pairing in his post-match conference, Yoshida gave a coy reply.

"It depends, I will have to see the conditions."

Well if the Lions, are to win against Palestine, the Japanese will have to assess those so-called 'conditions' quickly because a soft defence will only spell trouble for Singapore.