December 7, 2023

Singapore’s Lion City Sailors Fall Short in Asian Champions League

  • October 9, 2023
Singapore’s Lion City Sailors Fall Short in Asian Champions League

In the Asian Champions League, the Lion City Sailors could not take advantage of their home-field advantage after blowing a 1-0 lead against Bangkok United at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday.

In front of the 2,927 spectators, which included President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the Sailors started the game with five foreign players, including new acquisition Rui Pires and star winger Maxime Lestienne, but other than goal scorer Diego Lopes, they were unable to rise to the occasion.

As they played the Thai League 1 leaders at home for the first time in the campaign, Kodai Tanaka, Bailey Wright, and Pedro Henrique were all out due to injury.

Though, following the Group F match, Sailors coach Aleksandar Rankovic decided to highlight the positives, saying, “Looking at the whole game, I think we didn’t really deserve to lose, especially after the first goal, we really maintained our own and didn’t allow Bangkok to generate any chances.

The Details Of The Match Between Lion City Sailors and Bangkok 

Naturally, we must learn from this rivalry that any error might have a significant impact.

They started the game with a formation that was obviously different from the 4-3-3 they often use in the Singapore Premier League (SPL).

In the 5-1 friendly loss to Tottenham Hotspur on July 26, Rankovic revealed that he had been impressed by how the Sailors had performed in their new formation.

“In this competition, we’ll need an extra man behind,” he continued. I considered how I would make it very simple for them, especially on the ball, and attempt to be compact when we lost the ball because, of course, the manner we built up was similar to the SPL.

Bangkok had the most of the ball but could not convert on clear-cut opportunities. As a result, they paid the price when Lopes gave the Sailors the lead against the odds in the 25th minute.

The 29-year-old headed Christopher van Huizen’s left-side cross as far as himself before hitting a beautiful volley off the ground that went past Bangkok custodian Patiwat Khammai.

Six minutes into the second half, Bangkok leveled thanks to a stunning header from captain Everton Saturnino that beat Sailors custodian Zharfan Rohaizad.

When Thitiphan Puangjan found himself with plenty of room to shoot in the 62nd minute, he unleashed a long-range attempt that soared past a rooted Zharfan and into the back of the net.

Nine minutes later, Manuel Lopez believed the Sailors had leveled, but his header was called back for offside.

Rankovic substituted wingers Haiqal Pashia and Shawal Anuar in the dying moments, but they could not help the Sailors win the game.

After falling down, Rankovic said, “Everybody saw that we can be really competitive today, and that was one of my biggest goals. We went for broke.” Even though we demonstrated our mettle, the lads are pretty sad about the defeat.

“In the first half, we tried to adjust to the pitch, and at halftime, we made some tactical changes in terms of getting used to the artificial pitch,” Bangkok coach Totchtawan Sripan said of his team’s victory. We are content to return home with three points.

The Match At A Glance

Diego Lopes gave the home team the lead midway through the first half, but Bangkok turned the game around in the second half with Everton’s equalizer soon after the break and Thitiphan’s long-range goal just after the hour. Both teams had opportunities in the latter minutes, but the Thai squad held on for the three points despite Lion City having a goal disallowed for offside. When Mahmoud Eid’s header at the back post set up Rungrat Phumichantuk in the 11th minute, Bangkok had a chance to score. However, his first-time shot from 15 yards went high over the crossbar when he might have done better. Lion City surged back into the game and almost went in front in the 18th minute when Richairo Zivkovic’s curling effort from just inside the left side of the box caused Khammai Patiwat to tip wide for a corner deftly. A minute later, Lopes raced onto Zulqarnaen Suzliman’s throw-in from the right side to give the hosts another chance at goal, but the Brazilian missed the target from a tight angle.

 After Bangkok failed to block Christopher van Huizen’s left-wing cross, the pressure eventually paid off in the 25th minute when Lopes’ bouncing effort from 15 yards reached the bottom left corner to give the Sailors a 1-0 lead.

Bangkok took the initiative to start the second half, and in the 51st minute, an unmarked Everton headed in Rungrat’s inswinging corner from the right to tie the game. In the 62nd minute, Pokklaw A-nan passed the ball to Thitiphan, who took one touch before launching an incredible attempt from 25 yards that soared past custodian Zharfan Rohaizad to give Totchtawan Sripan’s team the lead. Lion City attempted to regain control of the game, and center-back Super believed he had leveled the score when his header was disallowed for offside.

As the game reached its last ten minutes, Rungrat and Pokklaw successfully combined to set up Willen Mota, who pulled his shot just past the right post. This almost gave Bangkok a two-goal lead.  Maxime Lestienne’s right-wing cross was headed wide by replacement Shawal Anuar as the visitors held on to victory as the Singaporeans attempted another attack.

 On October 4, Bangkok will host Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, while Lion City will travel to Hong Kong to take on Kitchee SC.


The Lion City Sailors’ Asian Champions League debut ended in disappointment as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Bangkok United at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday. Despite taking the lead through Diego Lopes in the first half, the Sailors could not hold on as Bangkok equalized through Everton Saturnino six minutes into the second half and then took the lead through Thitiphan Puangjan in the 62nd minute. The Sailors had several chances to level the score in the second half, but they could not convert and ultimately fell to a disappointing defeat. The match was also notable for the absence of Harris Haroon, who was left out of the Sailors’ squad due to injury. Haroon is one of the most experienced players in the Sailors’ squad, and his absence was a significant blow to the team Despite the defeat, the Sailors had some positives to take from the match. The team showed that they can compete at the highest level in Asia, and they will be looking to bounce back when they take on Kitchee SC in their next match on October 4.

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