SAYING the Philippine Azkals are "good as a team" but "not good individually," Singapore defender Baihakki Khaizan said the Lions' defense will not be focusing on one particular player when the two teams clash in the first leg of their Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup semifinal matchup on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Several Fil-foreign and homegrown Philippines players have proven to be capable scorers and the Azkals have actually hit the back of the net thrice in two matches against the Lions this year, but Khaizan, Singapore's starting center-back, said he would rather focus on the entire team and not on one particular scoring threat.
“For me, it’s the whole team,” the 28-year-old Singaporean told Spin.ph after the Lions’ practice on Thursday night at the University of Makati pitch. “No particular individual I want to zoom in on because for me, they’re good as a team. They’re not good individually. That’s what we need to look out for.”
The Lions have won the AFF title three times but are seeing action in the semifinals for the first time since 2007.
Singapore edged Thailand for the top spot in Group B on goal difference following a stunning 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Laos in the final group stage game last week.
Before their last two friendly losses against the Azkals, the Lions had a 13-2-1 (win-draw-loss) card against the Filipinos over the last four decades and the Lions believe the losing streak will end soon.
“We know we lost twice and in our other friendlies (against other countries) we didn’t get too many good results also. Sometimes we win; sometimes we lose, so our results are not stable,” said the 6-foot-3 Khaizan.
“But looking back, those results might give us a boost and positive mindset because this is a tournament and how you approach a tournament is different from a friendly. So we’re also different right now,” added Khaizan.