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 By Kenneth Tan

Sundram refuses to blast sloppy Singapore after Asian Cup defeat

Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson mull over the implications should the S.League take a one-year break in 2018.

A defiant V. Sundramoorthy refused to criticise his side, despite Singapore falling to a costly 2-1 defeat against Turkmenistan away in Ashgabat.

The Lions did well to level matters through Irfan Fandi on 27 minutes after debutant Vahyt Orazsahedov opened the scoring for the hosts on Tuesday night.

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It looked as if they'd done enough to take a crucial point home before Orazsahedov fired home his second of the night three minutes into injury time to break their hearts.

The result dented their hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup.

Rooted at the bottom of Group E with two points from four games, they will need to win their final two matches against Bahrain at home and away to Chinese Taipei. But they must also hope other results go their way to stand a chance of progression.

"It was a very difficult game," Sundram said. "Turkmenistan are a very good team. We came here with some plans and tried to get the points.

"We were unlucky to concede the goal in the last minute, but I'm very happy with my team's performance."

While acknowledging that their qualification hopes are hanging by the thread, Sundram is optimistic about their next challenge -- hosting group leaders Bahrain at home on Nov. 14.

Singapore held them to a 0-0 draw away in Manama in March to kick off the final round of qualifiers.

The Lions, however, are winless in their last 11 internationals, with their last victory coming in Nov. 2016 when they edged Cambodia 1-0 in a pre-Suzuki Cup friendly.

Sundram has also yet to lead them to a competitive victory since taking over from Bernd Stange last May.

"This result is not okay for us," Sundram said, referring to the Turkmenistan loss. "At least if we got one point, we would be in a better position.

"But we will try our best against Bahrain. We need to beat Bahrain to stand a chance to bring it to the last game."

Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT

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