Veteran striker Khairul Amri has urged his teammates and the fans not to panic, but to focus on getting maximum points from their last two Group B games against Timor-Leste and Thailand in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.
The Lions opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Indonesia but went down by the same margin to the Philippines to leave them on three points.
With the Azkals and Thailand sitting on six points each, the Lions have little choice but to go for broke and win big against Timor-Leste on Wednesday, as well as requiring a result against the War Elephants at the Rajamangala Stadium at the weekend.
FOX Sports Asia with another numbers crunch! 📉📈📊
— FOX Sports Asia (@FOXSportsAsia) November 19, 2018
Despite their precarious situation, Amri sees no reason to press the panic button and warned that the players must focus on securing a win against the Timorese, before thinking of the game in Bangkok.
“I just want to say we should stop panicking for now. The game against Philippines was against a tough opponent and it was always going to be tight and in the end, it came down to one goal to separate the sides,” Amri told FOX Sports Asia.
“Of course that defeat has made things difficult but we still have two games. We still have hope and I can assure you, it’s not over yet.”
With Timor-Leste proving to be the whipping boys of Group B, having shipped in 13 goals against Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia, sentiments on the ground are that the Lions will rain goals on the visitors.
While Singapore will need to score as many as they can in the event that the group is decided on goal difference, Amri knows that it can be tricky against a lesser opponent, and wants the Lions to find the back of the net early to settle the nerves.
“We need to prioritise the three points, then of course, this group is likely to go down to goal difference so we need to find as many goals as possible,” Amri added.
“Everyone is saying Timor-Leste are easy to beat but we cannot take for granted such things. What we need is an early goal to settle down and give the players that boost. What matters is to think of winning the game and hopefully, everything else will fall into place.”
A win against Timor-Leste will put the Lions on six points and depending on the results from the other group matches, Fandi Ahmad’s team are likely to need at least a point from their last game to make it into the semifinal.
Having the big-game experience of going up against the War Elephants in Thailand – Amri scored against Thailand at the Supachalasai Stadium to help Singapore to the 2007 AFF Cup title – the veteran marksman knows how difficult it is to get a positive result in Bangkok, but reckoned that nothing is impossible.
The Tampines Rovers forward remarked: “From the time I started playing for the national team, every time we play Thailand be it home or away, it is so difficult. A win will be tough but it is not impossible.
“This Thai team have been dominant in the group and the game at Rajamangala will be a tight affair with probably one goal deciding who wins. Hopefully, it will be us coming out on the winning side.”