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 By Kenneth Tan

Singapore ready to end winless streak for Asian Cup - Faris Ramli

Faris Ramli will be looking to help Singapore end their run of games without a win when they face Qatar in Doha in an international friendly on Thursday night.

The Lions are on a poor run of form, having not won since beating Cambodia 1-0 in a pre-AFF Suzuki Cup friendly in November 2016.

Since then, V Sundramoorthy's side have played five draws and five defeats. A win continued to elude them, despite faring well at home against Hong Kong (friendly) on Aug. 31 and Turkmenistan (Asian Cup qualifier) on Sept. 5, with both matches ending in 1-1 draws.

Faris, who has enjoyed an outstanding individual season with Home United by scoring 19 goals, is looking to buck the trend for his country.

"We have been doing very well last few games," the 25-year-old said. "It's just that results does not come our way with the last two games, ending in draws.

"Hopefully that this time round we can try to do something and sneak a result."

The friendly game against Qatar serves as preparation for next Tuesday's all-important away game against Turkmenistan, in which they have to get a result to keep their 2019 Asian Cup qualifying hopes alive.

The Lions started their preparations as early as two weeks ago with daily trainings since Aug. 25 before arriving in Doha last Sunday.

Assistant coach Fandi Ahmad is pleased to see the 24-man squad getting together ahead of the crunch game.

"This trip is important for everyone and we want to stay as compact as possible," the 55-year-old said. "For the last few weeks, we could not get all the players in training.

"Home United and Hougang United were having their matches [in Singapore Cup semifinals], but now their players are back. We need to be stronger every day, to get the gel and spirit back together."

Qatar will provide a stiff test for Singapore, being ranked 77 places above Singapore in the FIFA rankings at 85.

The Middle Eastern team have a number of naturalised players in their ranks, and are coached by Spaniard Felix Sanchez.

The Qataris are now focusing on preparing for the 2019 Asian Cup after their World Cup qualifying campaign ended with disappointment. They finished bottom of their six-team group with just seven points from 10 matches, as Iran and South Korea made it to Russia 2018.

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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