Hong Kong ideal opponents for Singapore ahead of 2016 Suzuki Cup, says coach Sundramoorthy

Sundramoorthy believes the higher-ranked Hong Kong team will give him enough opportunities to test bench strength.

Khairul Amri
Khairul Amri will be hoping for another good show on Tuesday Reuters

Singapore coach V Sundramoorthy says the clash against Hong Kong will be an ideal test for his men before they head into the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup in November.

The Lions, who played out a 0-0 draw in the Causeway Challenge against Malaysia, will travel to the Mong Kok Stadium on Tuesday for their clash against an higher-ranked opposition in Hong Kong.

Singapore, after three consecutive defeats under caretaker Sundram, came up with a solid show despite not being able to find the decisive goal at the National Stadium on Friday. The hosts were disciplined at the back and Khairul Amri and Hariss Harun kept probing the Malaysian defense.

Sundram felt his men were unlucky on Friday and that they could have won the game by a three-goal margin after the woodwork came to Malaysia's rescue on multiple occasions.

However, Hong Kong will provide a sterner challenge and his team will have to adopt a different strategy against a side that is "bigger and stronger" than their arch-rivals, according to the Lions' coach.

"We're playing a Hong Kong team that are bigger and stronger than Malaysia and our tactical approach to these opponents must be different. They are similar to the Philippines in that they are bigger boys who are more physical, and they put more balls into the box," Sundram was quoted as saying by The New Paper.

"We must be able to vary our style of play. This is why we chose to play Hong Kong, because they present a different challenge than Malaysia did.

"It's important that we are able to play different types of opponents before the start of the Suzuki Cup."

Despite most of the Lions' stars who featured in the game against Malaysia ticking the right boxes, Sundram believes it is the right time to test the bench strength saying he is ready to make changes according to the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition.

"The team played credibly [on Friday] and they all have a good chance to start against Hong Kong, but we will be taking a different tactical approach," the 51-year-old added.

"Anumanthan, Iqbal Hussein and Hafiz Abu Sujad have been doing well in training, and I thought Sahil Suhaimi did well when he came on. We've also got Mustafic Fahrudin who is eager to go out and show what he's got."

Notably, Hariss' side left for Hong Kong on Saturday for the clash on Tuesday, after which they will have a 10-day training camp in Qatar, according to The Straits Times.

Singapore will play three more friendlies, of which one will be at home, before they begin their Suzuki Cup campaign against Philippines on 19 November. Sundram's side are drawn in Group A, which has Thailand and Indonesia as well.