Singapore U22 vs Brunei U22: Pride all that's left for the Young Lions

SEA Games | Selayang Stadium | Wed 23 Aug | 8.45pm 

Billed as

A dead rubber, sadly, with both sides already ruled out of the semi-finals.

SINGAPORE RECENT FORM

  • Laos 0-2 Singapore (SEA Games)
  • Singapore 1-2 Malaysia (SEA Games)
  • Myanmar 2-0 Singapore (SEA Games)
  • Singapore 4-1 Brunei (AFC U23 Qualifiers)
  • Singapore 0-7 Australia (AFC U23 Qualifiers)

The lowdown

Gone before you knew it – that can be used to describe Singapore’s hopes of making it to the knockout stages of the 2017 SEA Games.

Successive losses against Myanmar (2-0) and Malaysia (2-1) did the damage and left them on the brink of elimination, before they briefly resuscitated their campaign with a 2-0 win over Laos.

BRUNEI RECENT FORM

  • Brunei 0-3 Laos (SEA Games)
  • Brunei 0-6 Myanmar (SEA Games)
  • Malaysia 2-1 Brunei (SEA Games)
  • Singapore 4-1 Brunei (AFC U23 Qualifiers)
  • Brunei 0-3 Myanmar (AFC U23 Qualifiers)

To stay in contention they needed Myanmar to beat Malaysia on Monday night, but Gerd Ziese’s side suffered a 3-1 loss to the hosts.

As such, Singapore’s campaign has now gone up in smoke and there is nothing left except pride to play for in this final Group A game against Brunei.

The Bruneians gave Malaysia a huge scare in an opening 2-1 loss, but failed to build from there with a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Myanmar and a 3-0 loss to Laos.

There is little motivation for both sides now, except to match or surpass their previous achievements.

A win for Singapore will see them match their 2015 tally of six points from four group matches, while Brunei are targeting their first point(s) at the biennial tournament since the 2011 edition in Indonesia.

Tardy has had his critics in KL

Team News

Neither side has major injury or suspension worries. With nothing much at stake, we may well see some fringe players featuring in this clash.

RECENT MEETINGS

  • Singapore 4-1 Brunei (AFC U23 Qualifiers, Jul ’17)
  • Brunei 0-2 Singapore (SEA Games, Dec ’13)

Key Battle: Shahrin Saberin vs Faiq Bolkiah

Restored to the starting 11 after being dropped for the first two matches, Singapore captain Shahrin put in a good shift at right-back against Laos and rarely allowed anyone to get the better of him.

That performance should be good enough to see him reinstated to his favoured centre-back role, where he will come up against a prominent name in Faiq.

Now playing for Leicester City’s reserve team, Faiq comes with a big reputation but has failed to impress so far at the Games.

The Brunei captain certainly has a point to prove in this match, which spells danger to Shahrin and company.

Faiq (left) will want to impress. Photo: AFF

The Coaches

Singapore coach Richard Tardy, who came under-fire for some of his tactical decisions throughout the tournament, may well opt for an experimental squad this time – with nine players in his 20-man squad still eligible for the 2019 edition.

It remains to be seen whether Brunei counterpart Kwon Oh-son will do something similar though as they look to upset the odds again.

Facts and Figures

  • Brunei are on a run of 12 successive defeats in the SEA Games. The last time they came away with something was a 2-1 win against Philippines in the 2011 edition.
  • Compared to Singapore’s three, Brunei have eight players with past SEA Games experience prior to this tournament.
  • In 19 games since March, Singapore have won just four – against Vanuatu (under-20), India and Brunei in friendlies and against Laos in the SEA Games a week ago – and lost 13.  

FourFourTwo prediction

With the pressure off their shoulders, expect the Young Lions to cruise to an easy 3-0 victory.

Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo