National Team - Lions ● Oct 28, 2021
Singapore edge Philippines for first win of AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers
Glenn Kweh celebrates after scoring for Singapore, 28 October 2021.
SINGAPORE, 28 OCTOBER 2021 – A superb team display saw Singapore overcome the Philippines 1-0 for their first win of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022™ Qualifiers at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
Having survived a first-half penalty miss by the Philippines, a splendid strike from Glenn Kweh early in the second half lit up the match in front of 984 spectators and proved to be the difference between both sides in their second Group H game.
At the other end, a resolute defensive display that restricted their opponents to no clear-cut chances pleased Singapore U22 Head Coach Nazri Nasir.
Harhys Stewart makes a tackle, 28 October 2021
“We knew the Philippines are not easy to play against, they are very physical and we expected them to play the long ball to their forwards,” he said after the victory. “We prepared very well for that, at all their set-pieces and corners, we stood up strong to cope with the threat.
“Every one of them fought so hard and gave 110 per cent out there, so I am very proud of them and I could not ask for any more from them.”
The decisive moment came on 52 minutes through Kweh, whose finish had the crowd on their feet. Having taken down Danish Irfan’s cross-field pass with an immaculate touch, the 21-year-old checked inside his man and jinked past another before curling the ball past an opponent and in off the left post from 20 yards.
“We have been practicing on shooting from outside the box as a team, so it came quite naturally for me to shoot at that moment,” he said. “It was just an instinct(ive) thing – when the situation opened up for me, I just took the shot and it went in.
“I am happy to score two goals in two games, but it is ultimately a team effort. As long as we win, it does not matter who the one scoring is.”
Zamani Zamri wins the ball, 28 October 2021
There were three changes to Singapore’s starting eleven that lined up against Timor-Leste, but the home side started with great intensity and piled the pressure on.
After Kweh’s well-struck volley on five minutes was tipped over by goalkeeper Quincy Julian Kammeraad, right-back Ryhan Stewart almost forced the ball in from a tight angle before playmaker Saifullah Akbar saw his shot from the edge of the box pushed behind.
Against the run of play, Kieran Hayes was adjudged to have been brought down by Jordan Emaviwe midway through the first half but captain Oliver Bias struck his penalty off the underside of the crossbar to the relief of the home crowd.
Seven minutes after the break, Singapore found the breakthrough through Kweh’s exquisite strike, which was just reward for their endeavours.
Reacting with a triple substitution, Scott Cooper’s side tried their best to get back into the game but struggled to find inroads against a stout Singapore backline and relentless harrying by the red shirts.
Farhan Zulkifli on the ball, 28 October 2021
Singapore could have ended the night with more goals, but Farhan Zulkifli spurned two close-range chances before fellow substitute Shah Shahiran saw his goal-bound free kick tipped wide.
With four points, Singapore now sit second in Group H and will derive confidence from this performance as they face Korea Republic in their final game on Sunday night (31 October).
Only the group winner and the four best second-placed teams from the 11 groups will advance into the tournament proper.
— FAS (@FASingapore) October 29, 2021
Nazri hopes to see another solid performance from his charges against the defending champions, who have posted 3-0 and 6-0 wins over the Philippines and Timor-Leste respectively.
“Of course, it will be a tough game without question, so it is important that we work hard as a team again,” he said. “For now, I want the boys to enjoy this victory; then tomorrow, we focus when we gather back as a team. Everyone got a chance to play in this game and I am sure they are looking forward to playing against Korea.”
Singapore U22: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Ryhan Stewart, Jacob Mahler (C), Jordan Emaviwe, Danish Irfan, Harhys Stewart (Rezza Rezky 82’), Joel Chew (Ryaan Sanizal 72’), Saifullah Akbar (Shah Shahiran 46’), Zamani Zamri (Farhan Zulkifli 46’), Khairin Nadim, Glenn Kweh (Zikos Chua 82’).
Unused subs: Dylan Pereira (GK), Martyn Mun (GK), Raoul Suhaimi, Daniel Goh, Jared Gallagher, Arshad Shamim, Nur Adam Abdullah.