Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Philippines Enjoy AFC Cup Double Over Singapore

Oh dear Singapore. Just when it seems things are finally getting back on track domestically for the much mocked SLeague, its representatives in the AFC Cup go and get beaten by Philippine clubs. Yep, the Philippines. 

You know how Arsenal were only invented in 1996 when that Frenchman arrived? How Chelsea was just a boutique name for rich kids before Roman Abramovich breezed into town? Well, football in the Philippines didn't happen until Simon McMenemy took over the national team and guided them to the ASEAN Footballl Federation Championships in 2010.

Singapore of course has a long and proud football tradition though in the eyes of some it died in 1994. Today it is advantage Philippines after their club sides defeated Singapore opponents last night in the AFC Cup. 

Ceres moved a point clear at the top of their group after they defeated Tampines Rovers 2-1 at home. Yes, they needed two penalties to earn the win but history doesn't take much notice of such subtleties; a win is a win. Perhaps Tampines were more focused on their SLeague game this weekend against Albirex Niigata as they started the game with big hitters Jermaine Pennant, Shahdan Sulaiman, Jordan Webb and Billy Mehmet on the bench.

At least the Stags can point to a long flight, well 3 or 4 hours. What excuses can Balestier Khalsa offer for losing 3-0 at home to Kaya? And while Ceres could take advantage of their penalties, Balestier missed theirs, striker Miroslav Kristic seeing his effort saved by the keeper.

Tampines are still second but face a couple of tricky ties. Next up they travel to Bangladesh to take on Dhanmondi who maybe winless and bottom of the table but caused Selangor some worries in their game in Dhaka with the Red Giants narrowly returning home with a 4-3 win.

Selangor have the same number of points as Tampines and they host leaders Ceres on the same night Tampines are accruing airmiles leaving everything set fair for a do or die tussle between the two sides at the National Stadium in May. With both sides looking to qualify for the next stage that could be a real do or die affair in front of a large crowd and a night that could go down in football folklore.

Despite a positive start for Balestier Khalsa when they picked up four points from their opening two games the wheels have somewhat come off. Successive defeats against Kaya ahve left them with a tough ask if they are to qualify a home game against bottom club followed by the final decider, away to Kitchee in May.

Not a good night for Singapore clubs but no need yet for doom and gloom.

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