Singapore's 2016 Suzuki Cup Report Card
FFT’s Pre-tournament Prediction: Last or third in Group A
Final placing: Last in Group A
Expectations going into the tournament: There were few expectations on the Lions heading into the tournament, which was influenced by them being in the 'Group of Death'.
Most weren't expecting Singapore to even make the semi-finals, with many believing that three straight losses were highly possible.
How they fared
In short, this was Singapore’s worst tournament ever, only collecting one point from their first two games, with no goals scored.
Singapore had a difficult start to the tournament, as Hafiz Sujad’s first-half red card meant they had to defend for their lives against Philippines to come away with a commendable 0-0 draw.
Many were encouraged by the players’ effort, but everyone feared the worst when the War Elephants came next. It took a late goal by Thailand to undo all the good work that Singapore did up till that 89th minute, as they lost 1-0.
Hope still remained for Singapore, as a draw against Indonesia then would still have been sufficient for the Republic to make into the semi-finals, had Philippines lost to Thailand by more than two goals.
A decent first-half against the Garudas gave belief that they could do so, especially after Khairul Amri slammed in a superb bicycle kick to give Singapore a 1-0 lead.
However, slack defending after the restart resulted in two goals being conceded, as Indonesia qualified for the next round at the expense of Singapore and Philippines following a 2-1 win.
The Azkals lost to Thailand 1-0 to fail in their bid of making a fourth consecutive AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final appearance.
One points from three games, with only one goal scored in total, marked Singapore’s poorest ever display at the Suzuki Cup.
All tournament long, it was defence first, attack second, so many fans were disillusioned by V.Sundramoorthy’s conservative tactics.
Star Player: Hassan Sunny
With Singapore adopting an ultra-defensive game-plan most of the time, Hassan would have hoped he wouldn't be called upon too severely in each game.
But the opposite often proved the case, with the goalkeeper making so many saves that scouts at the tournament should have sat up and taken notice of the Army United players' talents.
If any Singapore player was to come out of the Suzuki Cup at this stage with any credit, that player would be Hassan.