National Team - Lionesses ● Sep 28, 2021
Lionesses’ quest for Asian Cup qualification ends
Captain Ernie Sulastri on the ball against Indonesia, 27 September 2021
DUSHANBE, 29 SEPTEMBER 2021 – The Lionesses’ bid to qualify for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 concluded after a 1-0 defeat to Indonesia last night.
Having lost the first match against the same opponents by an identical scoreline last Friday, Singapore needed nothing less than victory to keep their hopes alive at the Republican Central Stadium. A win by a one-goal margin would have led to a penalty shootout to decide the qualifier, while a win by two goals or more would have meant qualification for Singapore.
While they ultimately fell short, the Lionesses put up a credible and determined effort in both matches in the absence of several key overseas-based players as they left everything on the pitch.
Coach Stephen Ng against Indonesia, 27 September 2021
Head Coach Stephen Ng was immensely proud of the team’s performance and told FAS.org.sg: “The team has nothing to be ashamed of. They put on a great showing and gave Indonesia a tough challenge, limiting them to just a one-goal score. There were multiple times that we matched our opponents and throughout the game, we had the competitiveness to fight. The standard of women’s football in Singapore is a work in progress and Indonesia showed us where we want to be. However, it is clear from this campaign that the target is indeed an achievable one.”
Singapore flew out of the blocks and Danelle Tan was inches away from meeting midfielder Farhanah Ruhaizat’s cross in the first minute. The rest of the first half saw both teams step on the gas pedal, with counterattacks flying from one end of the pitch to the other and goalkeeper Noor Kusumawati saving multiple shots from range.
The breakthrough came for the Indonesians on 31 minutes as Octavianti Dwi Nurmalita reacted quickest during a goalmouth scramble from a corner to stab the ball in. The Lionesses came right back in pursuit of an equaliser with several link-up plays from Farhanah, debutant Lila Tan and central-midfielder Venetia Lim, but were unable to find a decisive final touch.
Substitutes Lim Li Xian and Dhaniyah Qasimah came on to add fresh legs as the Lionesses upped the ante in the closing stages, but the Indonesians held firm to progress.
Venetia Lim moves to counter against Indonesia, 27 September 2021
Venetia, who received her fourth cap, admitted her mixed feelings after the match. “I initially felt disappointed with myself and sad that we didn’t qualify, especially given that such an opportunity doesn’t come easy,” she told FAS.org.sg. “We wanted to do well and make it for our country. But I also felt very proud of the team because we didn’t show any signs of giving up and fought through both games which is a credible testament to our desire.
“Building up to this competition, the team has made a lot of sacrifices. We are full-time working adults or students, but we were committed to training. The hard work paid off in the sense that we gave a good showing, but we are all sad that the main objective wasn’t met. However, we were able to achieve every other goal we set out – carrying out the game plan, learning new things and elevating ourselves as football players. This is something to bring back home and continue working on. Knowing that the matches were being shown live to everyone back home in Singapore further motivated the girls but it was unfortunate that the results weren’t in our favour.”
Lila Tan in action, 27 September 2021
Both matches were broadcasted live on the FAS Facebook and Youtube pages, garnering over 415,000 views across both channels.
Coach Ng added that he was pleased with the team’s unity and spirit, deeming it as a positive momentum to bring forward to the women’s football landscape in Singapore. The team will regroup upon their return and he will work with the team to maintain the momentum that they have established as they attempt to maximise their chances to be selected for the Southeast Asian Games next year.
The Lionesses will return to Singapore on 2 October.
Singapore: Noor Kusumawati (GK), Nur Syazwani Ruzi (Dhaniyah Qasimah 65’), Nurhidayu Naszri, Fatin Aqillah Ridzwan, Nur Farhanah Ruhaizat, Danelle Tan, Raudhah Kamis (Stephanie Dominguez 32’), Ernie Sulastri (C), Lila Tan (Lim Li Xian 65’), Dorcas Chu, Venetia Lim.
Unused subs: Beatrice Tan (GK), Nur Izzati Rosni, Winette Lim, Ho Hui Xin, Nur Umairah Hamdan, Nicole Lim, Sara Merican.