Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reds' No Mercy Showing in Singapore

Thousands Flocked to Kallang 'Kop'

Singapore XI 0
Liverpool FC 5 (Voronin, Riera, Nemeth x2, Torres)

No real surprise in the score line. 5-0 it reads and the Singapore Lions were no match to their superior opponent.

But the focus was definitely on the Singaporean fans who turned the Kallang National Stadium into a makeshift Kop End and I’m sure many of them thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Flocks of fans turned up hours before the kickoff at 7pm, armed with banners, flags and posters. These fans are epitomizes how important the club is to the fans even though geographically, we are thousands of miles apart.

The atmosphere, though surely is also miles away from the usual Anfield standard, I must commend the fans for putting in the effort to print out the thousands of song sheets and making sure that their love for Xabi Alonso is explicably shown.

Chants of ‘Xabi Alonso’ were even more prominent than Fernando Torres’, which surprised many including me. But perhaps after such adoration was being poured forth, Alonso might think twice before moving to Real Madrid.

The appearance of several key players also roused the crowd and much were reserved for manager, Rafa Benitez. And his decision to play Fernando Torres for more than 10 minutes will surely endear himself to the fans even more.

When asked whether Torres would play more than 10 minutes in the game, Rafael jokingly said ’12 to 13 minutes, maybe’.

But his heart must be tugged when he saw how much the Liverpool fans in Singapore wanted to see their idol in action. ‘We want Torres’ rang round the cauldron and Benitez must’ve been put to the spot.

When the tannoy announced his substitution, the crowd roared and cheered before he could even finish saying his name. ‘Number 9’ was all they need to hear. Oh, and ‘Number 14’ as well!

The Spanish hotshot did not fail to disappoint as he too, nets one of the goals though it’s probably one of the easiest goals that he’ll score.

It was a drab first half with both sides lacking a little imagination. Yossi Benayoun, David Ngog and Ryan Babel were the rare bright spark as Liverpool toiled on and Singapore defended stoutly.

But Liverpool took the lead through a deflected goal by Andriy Voronin, whose shot went off Baihakki Khaizan’s leg, Hassan Sunny stranded.

And then it was all down hill for Singapore as they seldom threatened the Liverpool defence. Possession was poor and distribution pretty atrocious.

Another star who received much adulation was Albert Riera and he did not disappoint the fans when he found himself in a good position before slotting home.

Hungarian youngster, Kriztian Nemeth, added a third when an on-form Dirk Kuyt provided him with an easy finish.

He then put the game to bed with a fantastic diving header which was sandwiched between a Fernando Torres tap-in goal. It must’ve been a fantastic experience for the highly rated striker.

Many fans were sad to see the game end but many stayed on as ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was played through the tannoy and there’s not a more beautiful sight than a united group of fans singing the club anthem.

It’s a fantastic experience for many fans who might not have a chance to enjoy the atmosphere of Anfield and the match wasn’t much of a disappointment either. Though the crowd was quiet at times, we know how Singaporeans are usually pretty hard to get warmed-up and passive.

Yet there are pockets of hardcore fans who tried their best to bring up the atmosphere and there were times where I really felt the goosebumps. Of course, it’s fun joining in chanting of Torres and Alonso.

As an anecdote, a Man Utd fan came for the wrong occasion and he was quickly spotted by the fans who jeered him for his terrible decision and it got a little rowdy so much so the auxiliary police had to step in.

Great experience there at the National Stadium, though I thought fans could’ve been more enthusiastic and louder but it was good enough in my opinion. Ticket was $88 but at the end of the day, it was all worth it!

No comments: