Stange rues 'early Christmas present' after opening defeat

Singapore head coach Bernd Stange was certainly not in the spirit of giving after a 2-1 loss to Thailand in their opening clash of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Speaking at the post match conference after the defeat, Stange was quick to criticize Baihakki Khaizan’s error in the lead up to the opening goal.

The experienced centre back lost track of Prakit Deeprom in the box with the latter squaring the ball into the box for Thailand’s opening goal.

“We started the game with a Christmas present in the 9th minute, four weeks before Christmas,” he lamented.

“Today was an unlucky defeat but I think we deserved a draw.”

The German, however found positives from the defeat.

“It’s very very difficult to come back against a team like Thailand but we did it and it was amazing to see our team performing till the very end,” he said.

Stange also explained his decision to take off Baihakki at half time.

“I did not want to finish this game against a strong Thailand with 10 players,” he said.

“It’s understandable for everybody who likes football that we had to change Baihakki. The next foul and he automatically would be off. “

The head coach was under no illusions on the pressure his side faces ahead of the Lions’ matches but remained confident.

“We have to win against Myanmar and Malaysia this result has brought under pressure to do that but I think we can do it,” he said.

Singapore will now face Myanmar on Wednesday in what is now a must win match.