Hours before the Philippines is set to clash against the Singapore team in the first ever home-game for the Azkals in the Suzuki Cup semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, the Lions are also firming up their game plan, ready to avenge themselves after two previous losses.
Among those who went public with the sentiments is Baihakki Khaizan, a mainstay in Singapore’s defense, who was quoted in the news wires saying they are heading for the Philippines well-motivated.
Baihakki told Goal.com that he is confident the previous two losses against the Azkals gives them an added motivation when the two sides meet at the Rizal Memorial stadium tonight.
“We can use that as a positive point also, losing to them in both games but looking at the statistics of those matches and the chances that we have created (we should have won),” said the towering defender.
“We might not have brought our scoring boots then but we started well (in the AFF Suzuki Cup) and scored a lot of goals. Hopefully we are able to maintain the good run.”
But Baihaikki knows that the onus is on the Lions to show what they are capable of, adding: “Seriously, it’s a matter of us (stepping up) now. They can play nice football to whatever but at the end of the day, if we use our strength, we can overcome them.”
The Lions can expect to play in front of a capacity Rizal Memorial Stadium filled with loyal fans of the Azkals, but Baihakki feels that it won’t affect the team as they are mentally prepared for the game.
“It is a big thing to them, their football and league are becoming more professional and they want to take football seriously, like their main sport which is basketball,” said Baihakki.
“We have to (stay focused), if not after we have made it this far, it is pointless.
“They have the home advantage but for us, we need to maintain that standard and record which we have. I think not only myself, but the team is raring to go and give our best.
“Let’s take the challenge. We are up for it and let’s not waste this,” Baihakki said.*with a report from Goal.com
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