After a frustrating 3-3 draw with Balestier Khalsa in their opening Singapore Cup match, the Lion City Sailors will seek their first win in the competition when they come up against Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday (31 October) night.
Both sides meet just slightly over a week since last facing off in the final match of the 2022 Singapore Premier League (SPL) season when the Sailors edged it 2-1 courtesy of a Faris Ramli double.
Having sat out that match as he was still recovering from sickness, Nur Adam Abdullah watched keenly from the stands and is acutely aware the Young Lions will not be as easy fodder as widely perceived.
“Young Lions have faced a lot of criticism this season for losing games and conceding a lot of goals, but I know for sure they have quite a few talented players and they’re out to prove to the fans that they can do something.
“They did well to come back against us recently and gave themselves a chance of getting a point. It is clear that we cannot take this coming game lightly – we’ve to go out there with full focus and commitment to get the three points,” said the Sailors full-back.
The Sailors trudged off the Jalan Besar pitch on Thursday (27 Oct) night, visibly exasperated after a night of wasted chances saw Balestier equalise three times.
Nur Adam, who played the full 90 minutes, admitted the team could have managed the game better.
“We didn’t put away our chances and conceded goals that we should not be conceding,” said the 21-year-old matter-of-factly. “We have to learn to kill the game off earlier and not allow our opponents a way back into the game.
“Defensively we have to stop allowing space in between our players and be tighter so that we won’t be easily breached. We’ve been putting in good performances and we need the results to back that up.”
The Sailors will need all hands on deck to go far in the Singapore Cup and Nur Adam has faith that the team will deliver the goods.
Now joint-second with Balestier in Group A, Luka Lalić’s charges are targeting wins against Young Lions and Albirex Niigata (S) to qualify for the semi-finals.
“I’ve read comments online saying we’re not motivated or committed. That’s absolutely not true – you can see we’ve been fighting for each other. Everyone’s pushing themselves and we were still creating chances till the final whistle against Balestier.
“Those who didn’t start but came on as substitutes like Sai (Saifullah Akbar) and Gab (Gabriel Quak) contributed massively to the team and could have scored,” said Nur Adam.
“This is part and parcel of football – we have to get through the tough period and all of us have to stick together in this. What’s important now is to ignore the noise, look forward to the upcoming games and focus on our ultimate aim of winning the Singapore Cup.”