Singapore and Indonesia will lock horns today at the Singapore National Stadium as both nations look to strive for AFF Cup glory.
Both the Lions and Tim Garuda know this will be a crucial encounter especially with two other regional heavyweights Thailand and the Philippines, also placed in the group.
Singapore are four-time AFF Suzuki Cup winners while Indonesia have been five times runners-up. Singapore have only managed a single win against Indonesia in five group matches – a 2-0 success in Jakarta in 2008.
But the Lions have the edge overall, winning on all occasions in the remaining three times they’ve met – once in the semi-finals in 1998 and twice over the two-legged finals in 2004.
Although the past may serve up tales of glory for Singapore, today’s context represents an entirely different notion as the tables have turned. The Lions will be entering today’s encounter as underdogs against a hungry Indonesian side.
Tim Garuda have gotten stronger in recent times underscored by how they reached the final in the last edition of this competition, and they will believe they can go one better. Singapore on the other hand have been on the wane and went a whole year without winning a game in 2017 under Sundramoorthy.
Both Indonesia and Singapore have undergone recent coaching upheavals with Fandi Ahmad being appointed interim coach of the Lions only in May. In the case of Indonesia, Bima Sakti was given the job of national team coach only three weeks ago after Luis Milla vacated his position.
All of this sets up for a fascinating encounter in what promises to be an AFF Suzuki Cup classic.
Form: W W W
Squad: GK: Hassan Sunny ( Army United), Izwan Mahbud (Nongbua Pitchaya), Zaiful Nizam (Balestier Khalsa)
DF: Baihakki Khaizan (Udon Thani), Faritz Hameed (Home United), Irfan Fandi (Young Lions), Nazrul Nazari (Hougang United), Safuwan Baharudin (Pahang FA), Shakir Hamzah (Home United), Zulqarnaen Suzliman (Young Lions)
MF: Adam Swandi (Albirex Niigata), Hariss Harun (Johor Darul Ta'zim) , Jacob Mahler (Young Lions), Izzdin Shafiq (Home United), M. Anumanthan (Home United) , Yasir Hanapi (Tampines Rovers), Gabriel Quak (Navy FC), Zulfami Arifini (Chonburi FC)
FW: Khairul Amri (Tampines Rovers), Shahril Ishak (Home United) , Ikhsan Fandi (Young Lions), Faris Ramli (PKNS), Iqbal Hussain (Hougang United)
Probable formation: 4-2-3-1
Key players: Safuwan Baharudin, Hariss Harun, Ikhsan Fandi
Head coach: Fandi Ahmad
Form: W W D
Squad: GK: Andritany Ardhiyasa (Persija), Muhammad Ridho (Borneo FC), Awan Setho (Bhayangkara FC)
DF: I Putu Gede (Bhayangkara FC), Gavin Kwan (Barito Putera), Hansamu Yama (Barito Putera), Fachruddin Aryanto (Madura United), Bagas Adi (Arema FC), Ricky Fajrin (Bali United), Alfath Fathier (Madura United), Rizki Pora (Barito Putera)
MF: Zulfiandi (Sriwijaya FC), Muhammad Hargianto (Bhayangkara FC), Bayu Pradana (Mitra Kukar), Stefano Lilipaly (Bali United), Evan Dimas (Selangor FA), Septian David (Mitra Kukar), Irfan Jaya (Persebaya), Andik Vermansah (without club), Febri Hariyadi (Persib), Riko Simanjuntak (Persija)
FW: Dedik Setiawan (Arema FC), Alberto Goncalves (Sriwijaya FC)
Key players: Dedik Setiawan, Febri Hariyadi, Evan Dimas
Probable formation: 4-3-3
Head coach: Bima Sakti