Singapore national Under-23 head coach Aide Iskandar knew he was on a hiding to nothing after he saw his side put up an abject performance in their 1-3 friendly loss to Cambodia Under-22s.
Despite putting on a brave face at the post-match press conference, his tired expression and sombre tone revealed a stressful evening.
Some fans had voiced their displeasure as the match reached it's conclusion, and the former national defender took the chance to apologise for the poor result and performance.
“The fans had every right to shout or express their opinions,” Aide said at the post-match press conference.
“I am sorry for the fans who turned up and saw such a performance from us. There was no excuse and we were not good enough.”
Aide admitted his side could have done better after taking an early lead through a 2nd minute Sahil Suhaimi goal.
“We were complacent after we scored and made mistakes and that gave Cambodia the confidence to come at us.” he said.
“We were also wasteful in front of goal, and give credit to Cambodia, they came with a game plan and worked to defeat us.”
The ex-Singapore captain did not mince his words regarding his starting centre back pairing of captain Shakir Hamzah and Sheikh Abdul Hadi, who were both dismissed during the second half.
“The sending offs were unnecessary,” he said.
“While they were trying to save the game, it was not permissible for them to commit the offences the way they did.”
Cambodia Under-22 head coach Lee Tae Hoon admitted his side had capitalised on the hosts’ poor showing to snatch a surprise win.
“Singapore made many mistakes today and did not appear to have much stamina or improvisation and we were lucky to win,” the South Korean coach said.
“My players worked very hard, even though those from the national team only arrived in Singapore with me last night.”
The Singapore U23s have still not won a single game this year against any opposition, but Aide once again called for patience with less than three months to go to the Southeast Asian Games.
“From 29 May (the first day of the SEA Games football event), it is where it really matters, not now,” he said.
“Look at Malaysia, their warm-up games all ended in defeats but yet they went on to finish runners-up in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup tournament.
“I have seen the boys deliver in the 2013 Games and last year’s Asian Games football and still believe we have what it takes to do well on home soil.”
Photo: Football Association of Singaporecomments