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Singapore target consecutive home wins in AFC Asian Cup qualifying

Singapore coach Varadaraju Sundramoorthy reveals his hopes for the team in 2017 and beyond.

Captain Hariss Harun says two home wins will take Singapore closer to their first Asian Cup in 25 years, but is refusing to get carried away, despite a positive start to their qualifying campaign.

The Lions snapped a seven-game losing streak against Bahrain to eke out a gutsy 0-0 draw in their third-round opener on Tuesday night.

They will now be at home for their next Group E qualifiers against Chinese Taipei (June 13) and Turkmenistan (Sep. 5).

Despite a lack of club action due to his aborted loan move to Spain, Hariss was assertive in central midfield alongside Izzdin Shafiq against the dangerous Bahrainis.

"It is a good start, but we won't get carried away because it's just the start," Hariss told The New Paper.

"We know we will have to score and win our next two home matches to set us up nicely for qualification.

"We have to realise this goal is achievable and continue to be on our toes and work for each other."

Singapore midfielder Hariss Harun
Hariss Harun was delighted that Singapore were able to keep a rare clean sheet against West Asian opposition.

Head coach V. Sundramoorthy hopes that the stubborn performance could be a turning point in the recent fortunes of the national team, who had lost nine of their last 12 matches going into the game in Riffa.

"This result is a boost for Singapore football and it shows our players can compete at this level if they stay focused and disciplined. We had a good performance against Afghanistan too, but lost 2-1," Sundramoorthy said.

"This time, they really got stuck in and got the job done."

It was a big boost for the national boss, who was under pressure to deliver after signing a new contract earlier this month.

"Hopefully, this is the start of a successful new chapter. I have been given a two-year extension, I want to make the most of it, win games and achieve success with the national team," he said.

"It's important to start the campaign on the right foot and now we have every chance to go on and qualify for the Asian Cup."

Singapore last appeared in the Asian Cup in 1984 when they hosted the continental tournament. 

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