National Team - Lionesses ● Dec 05, 2023
Bencherifa stays resolute despite Lionesses’s 8-0 loss to Bangladesh
Borussia Dortmund’s Danelle Tan has now earned her 21st cap for the country, December 2023.
DHAKA, 4 DECEMBER 2023 – The second two friendlies between Bangladesh and Singapore for the FIFA December international window saw the Lionesses humbled in an 8-0 defeat to the 142nd-ranked Bengal Tigresses. The defeat at the Bir Stadium comes on the heels of Singapore’s prior loss, 3-0, last Friday (1 December).
Head Coach Karim Bencherifa implemented a complete shift from Friday’s defensive strategies to an attacking stance, including the inclusion of Dortmund striker Danelle Tan, who was a substitute in the first match and has now earned her 21st cap for the country.
Sarah Zu’risqha has now earned five caps for the country, December 2023.
Other notable changes saw 20-year-old defender Dini Dannisha making her first start and midfielder Dorcas Chu making a return to the pitch for her first full 90 minutes after suffering anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries last year. Despite a more spirited play compared to the previous encounter, the Lionesses were undone when they conceded three goals within the space of 10 minutes in the first half.
The Bengal Tigresses were in no mood to let up from the previous game as right from the kick-off, they sought to dominate the game, successfully launching waves of attacks and taking control with a flurry of shots.
Beatrice Tan has now earned 14 caps for the country, December 2023.
In the 14th minute, a spark of hope emerged as forward Cara Chang skilfully manoeuvred past three Bangladeshi defenders, delivering a precise pass to Danelle, who set up Syazwani for a shot. Bangladesh’s goalkeeper Rupna Chakma, however, proved equal to the task, as she thwarted the effort.
Unfortunately, any hope was extinguished two minutes later as Bangladeshi forward star Tohura Khatun, Player-of-the-Match in the first game, took note of Singapore custodian and skipper for the day Beatrice Tan’s blind spot on the left, and capitalised on a corner kick orchestrated by teammate and captain Sabina Khatun.
Danelle with Bangladesh defender Nilufa Yasmin Nila in action, December 2023.
The Lionesses were spared no time to recover, with another goal by the opponents just two minutes later. Sabina’s corner found its mark as midfielder Ritu Porna Chakma seized the opportunity, scoring the second goal.
A defensive lapse from the Lionesses in the 23rd minute provided Bangladesh an opportunity to extend their lead – Beatrice managed to save the first shot, but lost grip of the ball. Midfielder Mastura Jeilani attempted to give chase to the ball, but Tohura proved to be faster, as she capitalised on the chance, slotting in yet another goal.
Dorcas Chu made a return to the pitch for her first full 90 minutes after suffering anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries last year, December 2023.
Singapore had one notable chance on goal in the 35th minute when Danelle dribbled the ball past two Bangladeshi defenders, with the opposition closely tracking her movement. Playing a 1-2 pass with defender Khairunnisa Nisa on the left, Danelle had a clear shot on target, only for Rupna to make a crucial save in the 35th minute.
If the first half was challenging, the second half was equally demanding. Bangladesh wasted multiple goal-scoring opportunities either by hitting the post, or deflected by Beatrice, as the Lionesses attempted to be resolute in their defensive stance. But the persistence ultimately paid off when Ritu delivered a precise cross to Tohura, who was only inches away from the goal line. Despite Khairunnisa executing a slide tackle on Tohura, and Beatrice clearing the ball away, midfielder Sanjida Akhter was on hand to score in the 57th minute. Four minutes later, Ritu expertly lobbed the ball from outside the box on the left, securing herself a brace, and extending their lead to 5-0. Captain Sabina finally left her mark on the scoresheet with a sublime goal in the 75th minute.
Goalkeeper Izairida Shakira earned her first senior cap for the country, December 2023.
Keeping true to his intention of fielding young players on the pitch, Bencherifa brought in the likes of 15-year-old midfielder Qarissa Putri and 19-year-old Raeka Ee to replace midfielder Sitianiwati Rosielin and Syazwani. Beatrice also made way for 16-year-old Izairida Shakira, who earned her first senior cap. Notably, she made a crucial save in the 80th minute, catching the ball from Sabina, who had received it from midfielder sub Shamsunnahar.
It would prove to be a difficult debut for Izarida as in the 87th minute a free-kick by Sabina caused chaos in the Singapore penalty box before the ball fell right into the path of forward sub Sumaya Matsushima, who gladly notched Bangladesh’s eight goal. The final blow came one minute into extra time, when Ritu, positioned on the left, delivered a cross to Shamsunnahar, ending the match with a scoreline of 8-0 to Bangladesh.
Dini Danisha (jersey number 4) made her international debut in the second match, December 2023.
Later, at the post-match conference, Coach Karim remained steadfast in his decision to introduce young talents in the dying minutes of the game, stating, “While their time on the field may have been short, there were glimpses of their potential. My focus is on building a Singapore team with many talents for the future – the goalkeeper (Shakira) we brought in is 16, the player that played the full game (Cara) is 15 years old, and the midfielder (Qarissa) who came on later on is 15.”
Coach Karim said that the opposing team today is the result of efforts years ago that paid off: “If we look at 4 or 5 years ago, there were scores like this in the Bangladesh women’s team. Just as there is a gap between Bangladesh and Japan (where Bangladesh lost 8-0 to Japan in the Asian Games group stages in September and ended up last on the table), now there is a gap between Singapore and Bangladesh.
Coach Karim Bencherifa at the post-match press conference, December 2023.
“Over the last two years, Bangladesh have defeated many opponents who have a higher FIFA ranking – 6-0 against the 85th-ranked Malaysia in the FIFA Rankings in June’s friendlies, 3-0 against the 61st-ranked India in the SAFF 2022 Championships, and 5-0 against the 77th-ranked Hong Kong in 2021, (which were their first international fixtures in more than two and a half years).”
He continued: “The [Bangladeshi] team we saw today is not the result of 2-3 days but the hard work of the entire team. I salute the Bangladesh head coach [Saiful Bari Titu], past [Bangladeshi] youth coaches, and a group of talented individuals who train every day. Hopefully, in the future, with our current strategies in place, we will be able to compete at the same level as Bangladesh with a stronger team.”
SINGAPORE: Beatrice Tan (Izairida Shakira 77’), Syazwani Ruzi (Qarissa Putri Ramadhani 73’), Nurerwadah Erwan, Dani Dannisha, Cara Chang, Sitianiwati Rosielin (Raeka Ee 73’), Danelle Tan, Mastura Jeilani, Khairunnisa Anwar, Sarah Zu’risqha, Dorcas Chu
Subs: Erlinawaty Jaffar (GK), Mira Ruzana, Farah Nurzahirah, Josephine Ang, Dhaniyah Qasimah, Rosnani Azman
CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE