NO HOLDING BACK: ’Uncle’ Duric set to terrorise Malaysians
ALEKSANDAR Duric is old enough to be an uncle to some of the Malaysian players but the age disparity will not stop the striker from causing the most damage when Singapore face their rivals from the Causeway at the Shah Alam Stadium today.
The 41-year-old scored a brace against Malaysia in last year's 5-3 win in the first leg, second round match of the World Cup Qualifiers, and the three-time S-League top scorer is looking to inflict similar pain this time out.
It will be Duric's first international since he was dropped midway through Singapore's disastrous campaign in the third round of the World Cup qualifiers.
Coach Radojko Avramovic informed Duric to report for training recently to give more depth to Singapore's attack following injuries to captain Shahril Ishak (dislocated shoulder), Khairul Amri (groin) and Sufian Anuar (groin).
Hariss Harun, Safuwan Baharudin, Shakir Hamzah, Khairul Nizam, Yasir Hanapi and Shaffiq Ghani will also miss the match due to national service commitments.
In reference to Duric's return, national coach K. Rajagobal, with a touch of sarcasm, said: "I am happy."
"It does not affect me whether Duric is playing or not as my focus is on my team and this friendly match," he added at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.
"I foresee an interesting match. I will retain the same team except maybe for one or two players."
Rajagobal, however, will be hoping for a better result following Malaysia's 2-2 draw in last week's first leg at Jalan Besar Stadium.
"We played well and deserved a win but we could only manage a draw. It was still a good result.
"We will play aggressive tomorrow (today) as we need an early goal for an advantage," he said.
The former international said his players were not carrying serious injuries ahead of today's match.
"Ashaari Samsuddin, who missed the first leg due to injury, did light training yesterday (Sunday) while the rest are fine," he said.
Singapore assistant coach Aide Iskandar said Duric's return will be good for his team's morale.
"He has blended well with the others in training. He was called up as a replacement for our injured strikers," said Aide.
Tickets, priced at RM20 (adults) and RM5 (children), will be on sale from 10am onwards today at Gate A of the stadium.