Losers on the night, Woodlands Wellington were largely dominated throughout their match against Kanbawza and only got into the game for the last 20 minutes or so, leaving assistant coach Clement Teo a visibly disappointed man when he spoke to the media post-match about his team’s on-pitch problems.
“We’re rather lethargic in the first-half, only the players themselves will know the reason," bemoaned Teo.
"Basically they were not going in for tackles, chasing after players, picking up the off-the-ball runs by the opponents, not communicating among themselves.
"We have trained for the past week but things didn’t work out like what happened in training. They just have to learn and think about what they really want.
"It doesn’t matter if the first goal was a lucky one, what’s important is that we just switched off the minute we went onto the field.”
His side’s focus will now shift back to the league, which will resume in mid-June, where they are currently second from bottom.
“The season’s not over, we’re just second last, it’s not that bad!“ he managed to joke.
Meanwhile victorious coach P N Sivaji chose to focus on his side’s problems despite replicating the feat he did with fellow Myanmar National League (MNL) side Okkthar United – reaching the quarter-finals of the Singapore Cup.
“This is a team with better individuals as compared to Okkthar who has better teamwork," explained Sivaji.
"A win is always sweet but there were moments in the game where we lost concentration. We were playing to the gallery and not slowing down the play to stop Woodlands’ attacking rhythm in the second-half.
"Two-nil is never a safe margin so we were not safe after Woodlands scored but fortunately they didn’t take advantage.
"Soe (Min Oo) was our brightest spark in attack but he didn’t get the right service at critical times where he made excellent runs behind the defence but the passes went wayward. That’s something we need to work on in training.
"I’m surprised at the luxury of space we’re given in an expected high-tempo Cup affair, Woodland made us look good by sitting back and letting us dictate."
On the penalty his team conceded, he said: “It’s a simple case of being over-confident. The ball was played behind Win Min Htut but Samuel Hanson was still in good position to cover the danger from Moon Soon Ho. However he failed to do the basic thing of whacking the ball out and tried to play his way out of the situation, thus he got caught and paid for it.”
He is also concerned about taking on Filipino side Loyola Meralco Sparks in the two-legged quarter-finals in a period where his side has a lot of commitments.
“We got the MNL going on, the draw for the local Cup has not been made so we’re having a lot of games in next six to eight weeks, so I have to be careful not to overload the players," he explained to Goal.com Singapore.
"It won’t be easy too with good individuals in the Younghusband brothers and Mark Hartmann for Loyola.”
He also showed appreciation for the Burmese supporters, who made up the bulk of the official figure of 1,560 fans that were present and lit up the stadium with their cheering.
“It’s fantastic to experience this again after I had that with Okkthar last year," beamed Sivaji.
"We feel encouraged to get a crowd like this. I think the word really went around to the local Burmese community over here."