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Gutsy Young Lions triumph in India rematch

Wed, 12 Jul 2017

Gutsy Young Lions triumph in India rematch

The Singapore Under-23 National Team put up an impressive showing to defeat their India counterparts 1-0 in a friendly at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Wednesday night.

After losing by a similar scoreline to the same opponents three nights ago, the Singapore Under-23s were bent on making amends in front of the home fans and they did so via Ikhsan Fandi’s second-half penalty.

The Young Lions were largely on top in the first half and created two great openings in the first 22 minutes, but were unable to finish both.

First Haiqal Pashia went through on goal from Hami Syahin’s defence-splitting pass, but the left winger saw his shot cleared off the line.

Then Ikhsan raced clear via Haiqal’s through pass, but was closed down by onrushing India custodian Vishal Kaith.

At the other end, Zharfan Rohaizad had to be alert to keep out Manvir Singh’s goalbound header.

Playmaker Hanafi Akbar then had two opportunities from range, but fired over on both occasions.

Singapore could have ended the first half on top, but Ikhsan’s 25-yard free kick went wide of the left-hand post by mere inches.

The Young Lions would duly break the deadlock six minutes into the second half, with Ikhsan converting a spot-kick in off the bar after substitute Syahrul Sazali was felled in the area.

The home side almost doubled their advantage on 58 minutes, with captain Illyas Lee’s spectacular 20-yard volley whistling just past the left-hand post.

They continued to pile on the pressure thereafter with Hanafi stinging Vishal’s palms with a close-range shot.

India came back strongly towards the end and almost equalised on 76 minutes, with Manvir’s fierce snapshot seemingly destined for the bottom right corner before Singapore substitute goalkeeper Hairul Syirhan pulled off a stunning save to turn it around the post.

The Singapore Under-23s eventually held on for a morale-boosting victory to gear up for next week’s Asian Football Federation (AFC) Under-23 Championship qualifiers in Myanmar.

Head Coach, National Youth Teams Richard Tardy was pleased with the result, but believes there is still room for improvement.

“I’m happy for the team to find this win, but it doesn’t change too much in my mind,” said the experienced French tactician. “I made some changes today and the players gave me more speed.

“They had it in their minds not to lose again and they showed good organisation. This win is good for the confidence of the team, but we need to continue to work and train more. More than 50% of this team can play in the 2019 SEA (Southeast Asian) Games and it’s good for our future.”

Singapore Under-23: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK) (Hairul Syirhan 46’), Darren Teh, Lionel Tan, Amirul Adli (Shahrin Saberin 62’), Faizal Roslan (Syahrul Sazali 46’), Illyas Lee (C) (Hafiz Sulaiman 80’), Hami Syahin, Muhaimin Suhaimi (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 65’), Hanafi Akbar (Taufik Suparno 89’), Haiqal Pashia Anugerah, Ikhsan Fandi (Amiruldin Asraf 70’)


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