V Sundramoorthy made six changes to the Singapore starting eleven, with players like M. Anumanthan, Irfan Fandi and Iqbal Hussain given rare starts. How did they (and the rest) fare in the 2-0 defeat to Hong Kong?
Izwan Mahbud 6.5
Did his chances of dislodging Hassan Sunny no harm despite conceding two times.
Was commanding and decisive in most aerial duels; came out well to close down Alex Akande when the Hong Kong forward went through on goal in the 33rd minute.
Was left exposed for Akande’s opener in the 42nd minute and partly unsighted for Huang Yang’s strike on 70 minutes.
Madhu Mohana 6
Given the nod ahead of Faritz Hameed, but did not show much to convince Sundram of a starting role at right back.
While he was solid defensively and coped well with the threat of the tricky Godfred Karikari, the Warriors man did not offer much in an attacking sense. Could be better utilised as a centre back.
Baihakki Khaizan 6
Was a good presence at the heart of defence with his height advantage and made a few crucial interceptions, but could have did better in the build-up of Hong Kong’s opening goal where he and Bennett seemed to go for the same man initially.
Daniel Bennett 6
As usual the 38-year-old stood out with his superb anticipation of situations and second balls, so it was perhaps unfortunate that his only two lapses of concentration led to the goals.
For the first one, he misread a long ball that led to Akande prodding home from close range.
For the second, he was just a tad slower in closing down Huang before the latter fired in between his legs and past Izwan.
Shakir Hamzah 6
Was his usual bustling self down the left channel as he bombed forward frequently to join the attack.
However, the speedy left back was a bit vulnerable in defence; losing the ball twice that led to a couple of counter-attacks from Hong Kong and did not pick up Jaimes McKee, who nodded the ball on for Huang, for the second goal.
It was just his eighth cap for Singapore, but the youngster showed exactly why he should be given more opportunities to don the Lions shirt.
The 22-year-old was tenacious in the tackle; constantly breaking down the opposition’s attacks before pushing forward to link up with the attackers.
That particular crossfield ball to Shakir late in the game was absolutely gorgeous. Singapore’s man of the match by miles.
Hariss Harun 6
He huffed and puffed, but for some reason, the Singapore captain never really got going and was not on his best form in this game. A good solo run through the Hong Kong defence in the second half was as much as he produced before being hauled off for Izzdin before the hour mark.
Iqbal Hussain 6.5
Virtually invisible in the first 20 minutes, he did well to settle thereafter and became more influential as the game wore on. Started on the right wing, but was shifted upfront for the last half-hour and that was where he flourished.
The lanky forward found space in the box on a couple of occasions and was perhaps unlucky not to grab his first international goal.
Gabriel Quak 5.5
Yet another disappointing outing from the talented winger.
Just like against Malaysia, he could not be accused for a lack of effort, but simply everything he tried failed to come off. Got to up his ante if he wants to secure a starting berth at the Suzuki Cup.
Khairul Amri 6
Worked his socks off and dropped deep on several occasions to get things going, but was seemingly trying to do much on his own. Did not make much impact in the opponents’ area, with both shots coming from range in the first half.
Took charge of the dead balls, but his deliveries left much to be desired too.
Irfan Fandi 6
Did pretty fine, considering this is his first-ever game at this level. Held his own against two foreign-born centre backs and did well to link up play with his fellow attackers, although there are visibly still rough edges to his game which he ought to improve on.
A pity that he did not connect well enough with Madhu’s cross in the 25th minute, which could have led to a dream debut.