Avramovic unfazed by Hariss absence

Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic insists his side will do fine without Hariss Harun in Saturday’s AFF Suzuki Cup Group B clash against Laos.

Malaysia vs Singapore: Hariss Harun

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

The Lions head into that game at the Shah Alam Stadium knowing a draw will be enough to send them through to the semi-finals.

However, they were dealt a big blow on Thursday after it was revealed that midfield general Hariss will miss the remainder of the tournament after fracturing his right fibula in the 1-0 defeat to Indonesia.

Nonetheless, Avramovic believes his side have what it takes to see off the Laotians on Saturday, and revealed they could welcome back left-back Shaiful Esah, who missed the Indonesia game with an ankle injury.

“My plans will not change despite Hariss’ absence,” he said. “At the moment, I think we’re okay.

“There’s a high possibility that Shaiful Esah will play.”

Avramovic also challenged his players to prove their worth by declaring they would not deserve to be in the last four if they fail to beat Laos, but believes they can rise to the occasion, especially after doing it once before in their opening game – a 3-0 win over defending champions Malaysia.

“In this tournament, we see that a few teams have improved,” he added. “In each game we must give 100%.

“If we don’t get the result tomorrow [Saturday], then we are not good enough. But in the first game we showed that we are good enough so we will see.

“Laos will have problems if we put pressure on them. Malaysia put pressure on them [in Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat] and made them exhausted.”

Laos coach Kokichi Kimura believes his side can still progress to the last four even though he admits it will be difficult.

“We drew in the first game [against Indonesia] but we had a good game,” he said.

“Then we didn’t play so well [against Malaysia] and lost 4-1 so I think our chances of qualifying for the semi-final are small.

“We must win but football is not easy. Every game is difficult but I hope we will have a good game and win.”

The Japanese also called for Laos to produce their biggest effort on Saturday despite the Lions missing a couple of key players.

“I have a few injuries in the team team but it’s not too serious,” Kimura added. “I will only decide who will play later today [Friday] after training.

“Singapore too have injury problems and they lost number 14 [Hariss], who is a good player. But they have many experienced players.

“If in the first game we gave 100%, tomorrow [Saturday] we will give 110%.”

Singapore have won the Suzuki Cup three times before in 1998, 2004 and 2007 while Laos have only recorded two wins in the tournament in 29 matches.

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