National Team - Lions ● Mar 20, 2019

Faris Ramli grabs winner as Lions beat Malaysia


KUALA LUMPUR, 20 MARCH 2019 – Nazri Nasir’s first game in charge of the national team got off to a fantastic start on Wednesday night as the Lions edged Malaysia in a 1-0 victory in the AIRMARINE Cup 2019.

Faris Ramli struck eight minutes from time at Bukit Jalil National Stadium to send Singapore through to the final on Saturday night, where they will play Oman.

The final whistle brought Nazri to his knees as he bowed in thanks at the win, which was earned after weathering a sustained bout of pressure from the hosts in the second half.

Izwan Mahbud was kept busy as the Malaysians poured forward in search of a breakthrough, with Mohamadou Sumareh and Zaquan Adha both denied by the Nongbua Pitchaya custodian. The 28-year-old’s best stop of the night was a stunning point-blank block to deny Zaquan, who was the home side’s biggest threat.

In defence, the central pairing of Safuwan Baharudin and Amirul Adli – the latter making his first Singapore start on his fifth cap – held their own against Tan Cheng Hoe’s men, who were perhaps unfortunate not to score after spurning some promising attacks.

It had been a different story before the break though as Nazri kept true to his word that the visitors would go on the offensive. Yasir Hanapi forced Khairul Fahmi Che Mat into action on 12 minutes after picking an opponent’s pocket and surging into the area to lash the ball at goal. From the corner, the ball fell to Yasir but the Tampines Rovers man struck his volley from 20 yards straight at the goalkeeper.

Yasir then turned provider for Khairul Amri a minute later, but the striker was foiled by Khairul Fahmi in a one-on-one situation.

The home side responded as Irfan Zakaria headed narrowly wide at a corner, while Syazwan Zainon then blasted a free-kick well wide as both teams went into the dressing rooms on level terms.

Straight off the bat in the second half, Amri’s pass was deflected into Faris’ path but the Hougang United attacker failed to get enough purchase on his chip to trouble Khairul Fahmi.

The 26-year-old then fired his shot straight down the goalkeeper’s throat after cutting in from the left, but he would be more ruthless at the third bite of the cherry.

Having received the ball from Hariss Harun, Amri turned on a six-pence 40 yards from goal before threading a through ball that took out five Malaysians. Faris was the beneficiary, racing in from the left and accelerating away from Shahrul Saad with two touches, before calmly sliding the ball beyond the sprawled Khairul Fahmi and into the bottom left corner.

It was Faris’ seventh international goal and that was enough for the Lions to earn their first win in three games against Malaysia, with the last one also coming at the same ground almost seven years ago.

Singapore: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Safuwan Baharudin, Amirul Adli (Zulfahmi Arifin 80’), Irwan Shah, Hariss Harun (C), Shahdan Sulaiman (Izzdin Shafiq 76’), Yasir Hanapi, Iqbal Hussain (Huzaifah Aziz 68’), Faris Ramli, Khairul Amri.
Unused subs: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Syazwan Buhari (GK), Emmeric Ong, Faritz Hameed, M Anumanthan, Gabriel Quak, Khairul Nizam