National Team - Lionesses ● May 13, 2022
Lionesses fight to the death for first SEA Games win in 37 years
Lionesses celebrate after the last-second winner, 13 May 2022. (Credit: Sport Singapore/Dyan Tjhia)
CAM PHA, 13 MAY 2022 – There was only one thing on their minds when the Lionesses headed to the Cam Pha Stadium on Friday afternoon to face Laos – to win.
And they did it deep into added time to snatch a dramatic, deserved and historic win – their first at a Southeast Asian (SEA) Games since 1985 and only their second ever.
It came courtesy of Izzati Rosni, who pounced to smash a fierce strike in off the bar from 15 yards in the 95th minute to seal a 1-0 victory in the Group B encounter at the 31st SEA Games.
“The team was playing well but we could not seem to score,” the 22-year-old Lion City Sailors midfielder recalled of the “unbelievable” moment. “When Coach (Stephen Ng) put me on as a striker, I knew that all I had to do was make the runs and finish. I am so glad that I was able to be the finisher for the team because they were working so hard, and we wanted so badly to prove that we can compete at the regional level.”
It was just reward for Singapore, who had the better of a gritty encounter against a side ranked 83rd in the world – 52 places above them. Having acquitted themselves well against giants Thailand on Tuesday, Stephen Ng’s charges put in another spirited performance and Lao goalkeeper Bangon Phonexay had to make a series of saves to keep the scoreline level.
The pattern of play continued in the second half and forward Danelle Tan spurned probably the best opportunity of the match up till then, as she just failed to control Putri Syaliza’s pinpoint cross with just the goalkeeper to beat.
There was no letting up even in the closing stages as the Laotians were pinned back in their half, but Singapore must have thought it was not to be their day when central midfielder Venetia Lim crashed a superb dipping effort off the bar from 20 yards in the fourth minute of added time.
However, with 247 seconds elapsed past the 90th minute, fellow substitute Izzati struck a brilliant finish after Nicole Lim had refused to give up the cause and pressured a defender into losing possession, which saw the ball roll her team-mate’s way.
That last kick of the game sparked bedlam as Izzati slid on her knees at the touchline before being engulfed by her ecstatic team-mates in a pile of red.
This is Singapore’s first win against Laos, with the previous two encounters ending in a 5-0 loss at the 2011 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship and a 3-1 loss at the 2007 edition.
Singapore’s last win at the SEA Games was in the 1985 edition, where the Philippines were beaten 2-0 in the seven-a-side tournament by goals from Maimum Wahab and Rogayah Mohamed.
Izzati also became the fourth Lioness to score at the SEA Games, following Goh Lay Nah’s consolation goal in a 2-1 loss to the Philippines in 1995.
Furthermore, this is the first competitive win for the Lionesses since beating Syria 1-0 in April 2017 in an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup qualifier and first win at the finals of a tournament since edging Indonesia 1-0 at the 2004 AFF Women’s Championship. Goalkeeper Beatrice Tan also kept the team’s first clean sheet in 17 matches.
The Lionesses next face Myanmar on Sunday in their final Group B match.
Singapore: Beatrice Tan (GK), Nurhidayu Naszri (Syazwani Ruzi 46’), Stephanie Gigette Dominguez (Izzati Rosni 46′), Farhanah Ruhaizat, Dhaniyah Qasimah, Danelle Tan (Nicole Lim 87′), Ernie Sulastri (C), Umairah Hamdan, Siti Rosnani Azman (Venetia Lim 76′), Dorcas Chu, Putri Syaliza Sazali
Unused subs: Noor Kusumawati (GK), Fatin Aqillah Ridzwan, Mastura Jeilani, Khairunnisa Khairol Anwar, Ho Hui Xin.