Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Singapore’s Aleksandar Duric talks about the upcoming Azkals-Lions Suzuki Cup clash

This appears in the Friday, December 7, 2012 edition of the Business Mirror.

Singapore’s Aleksandar Duric talks about the upcoming Azkals-Lions Suzuki Cup clash
by rick olivares

We spoke with Singapore striker Aleksandar Duric about his side’s upcoming away clash with the Philippine Men’s Football National Team at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium this Saturday, December 8, in the semifinals of the 202 Suzuki Cup. The evergreen Duric who despite being 42 years of age is still a threat up front for the Lions. His S.League side, Tampines Rovers, successfully defended its domestic title making it his eighth championship in the island state. Duric, is one of the world’s most prolific goal scorers, having scored over 479 goals in a  20-year career. He has won S. League titles with four clubs: Home United (2000), Geylang United (2001), Singapore Armed Forces (2006-09), and Tampines (2011-12). For his national side, he has scored 26 goals in 49 caps.

Duric still refuses to say when he is hanging his boots up for good but in all likelihood, this will be his last Suzuki Cup after leading the Lions to the 2007 championship. Here’s what Duric has to say about the Philippines:

Rick Olivares:  How would you describe your group campaign? You started out well against Malaysia then fell to Indonesia? Then coming back to beat Laos?

Aleksandar Duric: We used a lot of energy in the first game - too much, I think, and that showed in our second game. We couldn't cope with playing two games in a row at that tempo. The group stage was hard, showed that all the teams are kind of equal; we were surprised, especially against Laos when they went up 2-0 and we really needed to dig deep to beat them. But I think we deserved to top the group if you look at our results. It was a great achievement for us.

Rick Olivares: Your team faced the Philippines twice this year, what are your thoughts about them in this semis match up?

Aleksandar Duric: The way Philippines plays kind of suits us. They play a very European style of football, more physical. But we know they're a very dangerous team because we've lost twice to them. The good thing is we know all about them. We'll have to be really cautious in the first leg, they'll be especially fired up playing in front of a full stadium at home.

Rick Olivares: In 2010 the Philippines drew with Singapore on a late goal. How far has this team come?

Aleksandar Duric: They've improved tremendously since reaching the semifinals for the first time. They have a lot of good players, there's money, sponsors and crowds - it's helped them a lot to promote football. And that's good, not just for the Philippines but for Southeast Asia to have such a strong team. And they're getting better and better, they're getting players who are playing in Europe. These players are true professionals - boys who know how to play football.

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