National coach Lee Tae Hoon remained unfazed after Sunday evening’s 1-0 loss to Singapore at the Bishan Stadium, insisting the international friendly experience was all part of Cambodia’s preparations for their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign, which starts this weekend.
Cambodia took the pitch keen on repeating a 2-1 home win in a friendly in July that broke a nearly four-decades-old hoodoo against the Lions. But despite the best efforts of Chan Vathanaka during a dominant first half and some sturdy defending in the second, Cambodia conceded in the 70th minute.
Substitute Yasir Yanapi reacted quickest to a loose ball and fired home to save the Lions from what would have been their seventh winless game, giving coach V Sunderam Moorthy reason to be rather more cheerful than his Cambodian counterpart.
While Lee Tae Hoon said he was disappointed with the outcome but not disheartened, the Lions’ coach said: “Friendlies are friendlies – the most important matches are the Cup games next week.”
It was the final warm-up game for Singapore and Cambodia as they head in different directions in the next few days in pursuit of a common goal.
Singapore begin their Group A campaign against hosts Philippines on Saturday, while the Angkor Warriors play their Group B opener against Malaysia in the former Myanmar capital of Yangon on Sunday.