National Team - Lions ● Oct 06, 2019
Lions earn hard-fought away draw against Jordan
AMMAN, 5 OCTOBER 2019 – A gritty performance from the Lions saw them come away with a 0-0 draw against Jordan on Saturday evening at the Amman International Stadium.
The international friendly served as a warm-up for Tatsuma Yoshida’s charges ahead of their next Group D match in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 campaign, which will be against Saudi Arabia in five days’ time in Buraidah.
The Japanese coach used the opportunity to experiment and made six changes to side that started against Palestine last month. This included handing Hami Syahin and Fareez Farhan their first ever international starts, with both earning their second caps as well.
Birthday boy Zulfahmi Arifin slotted in at left-back, while Zulqarnaen Suzliman earned his 10th cap on the opposite flank.
“We could try some things and prepare for Saudi Arabia,” Tatsuma said afterward. “We used two formations but the game was difficult; Jordan are very strong physically and their technique is also good.”
The hosts, ranked 59 places above Singapore at 98th in the FIFA rankings, started strongly and Abdallah Alattar was a whisker away from finding the bottom left corner from a tight angle.
But the Lions’ rearguard stood stout throughout and Hassan Sunny was rarely troubled in goal, aided by an outstanding last-ditch tackle from Irfan Fandi and a timely block each from Safuwan Baharudin and debutant Darren Teh.
There was also a maiden cap for Hazzuwan Halim, while Amirul Adli reached 10 caps and Firdaus Kasman made his first international appearance since June 2015 when all three came on in the second half.
Baha Seif might have felt unfortunate not to score for Vital Borkelmans’ side, sending a couple of efforts not far off target, including an overhead kick with the last touch of the game.
The Lions were blunt at the other end, with Safuwan’s 25-yard free-kick that sailed over the only chance of note and Tatsuma acknowledged the need to improve in the attacking third.
“Our attack (can be better), especially the transition from defence to attack,” he said. “If we always clear (the ball) when we win the ball… (and) the opponents play well, maybe we cannot get the ball.”
Still, the result meant a first clean sheet in six matches for the Lions and was also only the second time in eight meetings that they have avoided defeat to Jordan, having only won once against them. It was also the Lions’ first clean sheet away to Middle Eastern opposition since 24 January 2008 in a 2-0 friendly win against Kuwait – 21 games ago.
A special mention goes out to the group of 60-odd Singaporean students studying in Jordan who cheered the Lions on from the stands throughout the entire game!
The team will regroup and get back to work on the training ground as they prepare to face Saudi Arabia on 10 October (1am SGT, 11 Oct).
Singapore: Hassan Sunny (GK), Zulqarnaen Suzliman (Nazrul Nazari 46’), Safuwan Baharudin, Irfan Fandi (Amirul Adli 73’), Zulfahmi Arifin (Darren Teh 46’), Hariss Harun (C) (Firdaus Kasman 65’), Hami Syahin, Yasir Hanapi (Hazzuwan Halim 67’), Gabriel Quak, Faris Ramli, Fareez Farhan (Shawal Anuar 77’).
Unused subs: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Farhan Zulkifli, Baihakki Khaizan, Shahdan Sulaiman.
All photos courtesy of Jordan FA unless otherwise stated