National Team - Lions ● Jun 09, 2022
Lions suffer narrow defeat against Kyrgyz Republic
Safuwan Baharudin defending a ball, 8 June 2022
BISHKEK, 9 JUNE 2022 – Two goals in three minutes condemned Singapore to a narrow defeat on Wednesday night against the Kyrgyz Republic.
Song Uiyoung had given the Lions a dream lead shortly after the break, but pressure from the hosts paid off in the final quarter of the match in their Group F opener of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup™ 2023 Qualifiers Final Round.
Despite the heartbreak at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, Takayuki Nishigaya was heartened at the effort on display against the 95th-ranked White Falcons – 63 places above Singapore.
“We were so close (to getting a result) even though we played against a strong team in a tough away game,” the Japanese said after his first competitive match in charge. “While I am disappointed with the result, I am very happy to see the boys’ effort.
“I am really proud of my boys because we played very well; we have two more games left and we can still go to the next stage, so we have to focus on those games.”
Nur Adam Abdullah plays the ball, 8 June 2022
In front of a partisan crowd that appeared to be higher in number than the official attendance of 7,322, Faris Ramli had an early opportunity to stun them but a heavy first touch let him down after he was sent clear in the fifth minute.
The hosts tried to hit back as Gulzhigit Alykulov and Kairat Zhyrgalbek flashed efforts wide. Irfan Fandi and Safuwan Baharudin also made important defensive interventions but the Lions had the better first-half opportunities. Faris saw another effort blocked before Ikhsan Fandi shortly headed a cross at the goalkeeper Erzhan Tokotaev from a tight angle.
Tokotaev then made two superb stops to first deny Faris from range and then Ikhsan from six yards, while Song was prevented from tapping in Ikhsan’s pass by some fine defending from Aleksandr Mishchenko.
Ikhsan Fandi celebrates with Song Uiyoung, 8 June 2022
But the midfielder, making his tenth international appearance, broke the deadlock on 55 minutes to silence the home crowd. After Faris had won the ball and then laid it off to Irfan, the centre-back’s raking pass sprang Song to round Tototaev and finish into an empty goal.
Unfortunately, the Lions could not hold on. Hassan Sunny made two brilliant stops and Irfan headed a goal-bound effort over the bar, but the Kyrgyz Republic were given a lifeline when Viktor Maier was fouled and captain Valerii Kichin tucked away the ensuing penalty on 77 minutes.
Three minutes later, things went from bad to worse when substitute Maier turned in the box and fired a shot past a sea of players into the bottom left corner.
Faris Ramli chases the ball, 8 June 2022
Song’s close-range effort in the 85th minute was chalked off for an alleged foul on Tototaev, who appeared to have been impeded by one of his team-mates, as the Lions fell to a narrow loss.
“We created a lot of chances but we scored only one goal but I know we can score more,” Nishigaya said. “It is something I am confident we will improve on.
“Our boys were not afraid against a good team and I am very proud of them. We have to focus on our recovery, starting right now, ahead of our next match.”
The Lions next face Tajikistan – 4-0 victors over Myanmar in the other Group F match earlier today – on 11 June at the same venue. Kick-off will be at 6.30pm, Singapore time.
Singapore: Hassan Sunny (GK), Irfan Fandi (Amirul Adli 85’), Hariss Harun (C), Safuwan Baharudin, Nazrul Nazari, Shah Shahiran, Shahdan Sulaiman, Song Uiyoung (Taufik Suparno 85’), Nur Adam Abdullah (Christopher van Huizen 46’), Faris Ramli (Hafiz Nor 56’), Ikhsan Fandi.
Unused subs: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Zaiful Nizam (GK), Ryaan Sanizal, Ryhan Stewart, Glenn Kweh, Gabriel Quak, Iqram Rifqi.