National Team - Lionesses ● Jul 13, 2022

Lionesses clinch first win at AFF Women’s Championship in 18 years

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Izzati Rosni moments before scoring, 12 July 2022.

 

MANILA, 12 JULY 2022 – As they took to the pitch on Tuesday night, the Singapore Women’s National Team knew what was on the line.

 

Tough defeats to the Philippines, Australia and Thailand in the preceding days had left them worn down, but not out.

 

And at Binan Football Stadium, against Indonesia in the final match of their ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship 2022 campaign, the Lionesses pulled off what had not been done since 2004 – victory.

 

“As a team, we have been working hard and we went into the games knowing that some of our opponents were top sides, but we still went as hard as we could,” Dhaniyah Qasimah said. “There was no question on our effort. We know within ourselves that we are improving, and that improvement takes time, but it was tough to see how critical the public was at times.”

 

But the frustration, the fatigue from playing five times in nine days, the doubts that Dhaniyah and the rest of her team-mates had felt, evaporated at the final whistle of a 2-0 triumph.

 

A first win in 29 matches across eight editions was just reward for a side that was fired up from the get-go. Farhanah Ruhaizat and Dhaniyah combined well on the right while on the left, Putri Syaliza and Danelle Tan troubled the opposing defence with their skill.

 

Venetia Lim’s dead-ball range was proving to be a threat and in the first minute of added time, the deadlock was broken. The midfielder’s free-kick from deep caused chaos and when goalkeeper Fani Supriyanto made a hash of her catch, the ball fell kindly to Izzati Rosni. With a knack for scoring on the big stage, the 23-year-old – whose last-gasp match-winner clinched Singapore’s first Southeast Asian Games win since 1985 back in May – made no mistake with a precise finish.

 

The Garuda Pertiwis came back strongly, seeking to avoid finishing bottom, but Singapore dug deep and held them off. A smart stop from Noor Kusumawati denied Sheva Furyzcha on the hour mark, while the Lionesses continued to search for a second to calm their nerves.

 

Then, the moment that substitute Syazwani Ruzi would never forget arrived a minute into added time.

 

Nurhidayu Naszri’s throw on the left was headed on by Tan into the path of Lila Tan, whose touch deceived an opponent. As the Indonesians scrambled, the ball was flicked on by Syazwani over the goalkeeper for her first international goal – one that sealed a historic win.

 

Syazwani Ruzi celebrates, 12 July 2022. 

 

The defender was joined by the entire team in celebration and at the final whistle, Singapore could look back on a fourth-place finish in the six-team Group A – their best-ever tournament finish in nine editions. The four-point haul, three goals and two clean sheets were also their respective bests in a single campaign.

 

Head Coach Stephen Ng said in the post-match press conference: “We benefited from these games; they are very good for our development. While it is unfortunate that we couldn’t progress to the next round, it was a very good experience. Today, we very badly wanted to win to finish off the campaign and we worked hard for it today. I give credit to all my players for their hard work.”

 

The Lionesses return to Singapore tomorrow at 8.30pm.

 

Singapore: Noor Kusumawati Rosman, Nurhidayu Naszri, Farhanah Ruhaizat (Lila Tan 64′), Dhaniyah Qasimah, Danelle Tan, Izzati Rosni (Syazwani Ruzi 84′), Putri Syaliza, Ernie Sulastri (C), Umairah Hamdan, Dorcas Chu (Stephanie Gigette 64′), Venetia Lim (Afiqah Omar 90+2′).

Unused subs: Beatrice Tan, Haziqah Haszman, Georgia Khoo Yow, Fatin Aqillah Ridzwan, Irsalina Irwan, Claire Marie Tay, Nadhra Aqilah Saiful, Alyssa Yazrin.