National Team - Lions ● Nov 12, 2021

Lions fall to narrow friendly defeat against Kyrgyz Republic


Hami Syahin on the ball in a friendly against Kyrgyz Republic, 11 November 2021


DUBAI, 11 NOVEMBER 2021 – Two early goals proved to be Singapore’s undoing in a 2-1 defeat to the Kyrgyz Republic on Thursday night at the Al-Hamriyah Sports and Cultural Club.


Aizar Akmatov’s header on three minutes was followed by a close-range finish from Ernist Batyrkanov on nine minutes as the 96th-ranked White Falcons took control of the international friendly early on.


Tatsuma Yoshida’s charges did get a better foothold in the match after the rocky start and reduced arrears on 20 minutes through captain Shahdan Sulaiman, who headed in Safuwan Baharudin’s header back across goal off Gabriel Quak’s corner in a well-worked corner routine.


“The first 15 minutes was a bit of a waste for us,” Tatsuma acknowledged afterwards. “Even though our opponents were very sharp and started well, the boys need to adapt to this level (and cope better).”


Shahdan Sulaiman heads the ball in during a friendly against Kyrgyz Republic, 11 November 2021


Midfielder Song Uiyoung, one of two debutants in the starting line-up alongside right-back Tajeli Salamat, then came close to drawing the Lions level when his header was tipped onto the bar by Erzhan Tokotaev on 38 minutes. Apart from the duo, Amy Recha and Nur Adam Abdullah also earned their first Singapore caps when they came on later in the match.


Singapore came out strongly after the break and half-time substitute Ikhsan Fandi nearly made an immediate impact as he met Song’s cross with a header, only to see it saved. Five minutes later, he was inches away from connecting with Shawal Anuar’s delivery.


Shawal Anuar on the ball in a friendly against Kyrgyz Republic, 11 November 2021


On 54 minutes, the 22-year-old was sent clear by Hami Syahin only to be fouled by Tokotaev, who had come out around 35 yards from his goal. That earned the Kyrgyz Republic custodian a direct red card, leaving his side down to ten men.


The Lions tried to pile on the pressure but were unable to find a breakthrough. They were also unfortunate to have an equaliser from Ikhsan chalked off in the fifth minute of added time for an alleged foul as they succumbed to a loss in the first match of their training camp in Dubai.


Ikhsan Fandi scoring from close range in a friendly against Kyrgyz Republic. The goal was later disallowed, 11 November 2021


Tatsuma said: “After the red card, we had an advantage so we did not need to rush (our attacks). We did so many crosses and we need to (learn to) create more chances from the ground. We had around 35 minutes more to play so we had enough time (to find goals). Of course, I wanted to win this match and so did the boys. Today, they tried many things in the match and while they were struggling against the opponents’ pressure, which was quite tight and high in the first 15 minutes, they tried to find some solutions and they did, and that is good. In terms of improvements, I think we need to have better game control. If we have it, we will get closer to being able to challenge at a higher level.”


Centre-back Safuwan, who earned his 97th cap as he made his first international appearance in two years, added: “It did not go as what we intended but I think overall, we did pretty decently in certain parts of the game and it was unfortunate that we could not get the late equaliser. It is not so much about the result but about getting the momentum going after we have been away from international matches for quite some time, especially for me; to come back after two years is an incredible feeling, but I think we still have a lot of work to do.”


The Lions will next play Morocco A’ in a training match on 16 November, Tuesday at 5pm local time at the same venue in their second and final fixture in Dubai. The training match will allow for unlimited substitutions.



Singapore: Hassan Sunny (GK), Tajeli Salamat (Nazrul Nazari 66′), Irfan Fandi, Safuwan Bahrudin, Shakir Hamzah, Shahdan Sulaiman (C), Hami Syahin (Zulfahmi Arifin 66′), Song Uiyoung (Saifullah Akbar 88′), Gabriel Quak (Ikhsan Fandi 46′), Shawal Anuar (Amy Recha 77′), Faris Ramli (Nur Adam Abdullah 88′).
Unused subs: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Syazwan Buhari (GK), Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Amirul Adli, Jacob Mahler, Adam Swandi, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Iqram Rifqi.


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