Set pieces win it for Singapore
A youthful Singapore team overcame the defending silver medalist Myanmar 2-1 in their second Group B game in the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos.
First half goals from Safuwan Baharudin and Hariss Harun were just enough as the youthful Singaporeans got their first win of the tournament.
Another impressive performance with the set pieces from left back Shaiful Esah saw the Young Lions score from two corners.
Safuwan’s firm header in the 14th minute, a carbon copy of his goal against Indonesia, gave the Lions a well deserved lead.
Shaiful was again the provider as he floated in an out swinging corner and Hariss got to the end of it after evading his marker to give Singapore a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
It was not all Singapore in the first half as Myanmar started off stronger as they took advantage of Singapore’s inexperience, especially on the right hand side as winger Yaza Win Thein used his pace to constantly go round Faritz Abdul Hameed, who was making his SEA Games debut.
As the first half wore one, the midfield trio of Captain Isa Halim, Hariss Harun and Shahdan Sulaiman grew in confidence after the initial Myanmar onslaught and slowly began to find space in the middle of the park and started stringing passes together.
Fazli Ayob and Shahiful Esah were beginning to get involved in the game from the flanks and started linking up with the battling Khairul Nizam up front.
Nizam nearly got his name on the scoresheet from five meters out after good work by Fazli Ayob on the right but placed his header high and wide with no defender around him.
The best move of the match was conjured up by the Young Lions after Shahdan, Hariss, Nizam, Shaiful exchanged passes in the middle of the park that eventually freed Isa in the penalty box with only the keeper to beat. His shot caromed off the foot of the keeper and the Myanmar captain cleared it out for a corner before it could trickle over the line.
The second half started off as expected with Myanmar pilling on the pressure in search of the vital first goal.
The dominated the second half possession but were unable to crack the Singapore defence as they were restricted to long shots as Safuwan and his fellow defenders barely hung on.
Myanmar did finally get the goal they were looking for but it was too late as the referee blew the whistle a few minutes later to the joy of the Singapore players.
The win gives the Young Lions four points from two games with their last game against hosts Laos on 10 December.
Laos stunned Indonesia 2-0 in a later match to go top of Group B on goal difference. Singapore only needs one more point from their next game to advance to the semi finals.
10 Dec (Main Stadium): Myanmar vs Indonesia (1500hrs)/ Laos vs Singapore (1745hrs)
11 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Cambodia vs Vietnam (1500hrs)/ Malaysia vs Thailand (1500hrs)
1. THAILAND 7pts (+13)
2. VIETNAM 7pts (+6)
3. MALAYSIA 6pts ( +13)
4. CAMBODIA 3pts (-5)
5. TIMOR LESTE 0pt (-27)
1. LAOS 4pts (+2)
2. SINGAPORE 4pts (+4)
3. MYANMAR 1pt (-1)
4. INDONESIA 1pt (-2)
Singapore: Hyrulnizam Juma'at (GK), Faritz Abdul Hameed (86’ Madhu Mohana), Afiq Yunos, Safuwan Baharudin, Irwan Shah, Fazli Ayob, Isa Halim (C), Hariss Harun, Shaiful Esah (77’ Raihan Abdul Rahman), Shahdan Sulaiman, Khairul Nizam (62’ Shahfiq Ghani)
Quick Notes: Raihan Abdul Rahman, Afiq Yunos, Madhu Mohana, Faritz Abdul Hameed and goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma'at made their SEA Games debut…Safuwan picked up his second yellow card of the tournament which rules him out of the next match against hosts Laos.