National Team - Lionesses ● May 07, 2023
Cambodia’s penalty ends Lionesses’ SEA Games campaign
Venetia Lim (in red jersey) slide tackles Cambodia’s Kunthea Poeurn (in blue jersey), 6 May 2023. Credit: Sport Singapore / Dyan Tjhia
PHNOM PENH, 7 MAY 2023 – The Lionesses fought to the death, but came up empty, as they fell to Cambodia 0-1, which effectively ended their run at the SEA Games group stages this year.
The 119th-ranked hosts did not plan to make their guests comfortable at their homeground – Cambodia set about their intentions by engaging in long spells of possession, denying the Lionesses any opportunities to break through.
But Karim Bencherifa’s charges knew too well how crucial this match was, and the 20-strong squad reciprocated aggressively. Forwards Danelle Tan and Putri Syaliza kept pressure on the Cambodian backline, whilst the quartet of skipper Rosnani Azman, Fatin Ridzwan, Umairah Hamdan and Syazwani Ruzi excelled in their defensive duties. It was a dangerous tactic however, as their ferocious play meant that they were prone to giving away multiple free kick opportunities to Cambodia.
Umairah Hamdan (wearing red jersey number 15) with the ball, while Soeurn Vipha (wearing blue jersey number 10) attempts to tackle, 6 May 2023. Credit: Sport Singapore / Dyan Tjhia
Still, the Lionesses could count on custodian Kusumawati – who is 2 caps away from making her 50th international appearance for the team – as she was put to hard work in ensuring a clean sheet in the first half.
There were also multiple goal-scoring chances created by the home side, a notable hair-raising moment being in the 35th minute, where Rosnani repeatedly intercepted Soeurn Vipha’s attempts to score through slide tackles, with custodian Kusumawati providing cover, however the ball managed to roll towards the unguarded goalpost. Still, Hoekstar Melanie Joy was too slow in converting it into a goal.
There were a few notable attempts on the Lionesses’ side to bury the ball in the back of the net – Danelle’s cross from outside the box at the 26th minute, coupled with three free kick opportunities from Umairah Hamdan and Putri Syaliza’s ball curling at the 38th minute. With both teams neck-and-neck, the first half ended in a goalless draw.
Danelle Tan (wearing red jersey) shoots while Kim Chantet (wearing blue jersey) looks on, , 6 May 2023. Credit: Sport Singapore / Dyan Tjhia
The stalemate continued into the second half with the Khmer side dialling up on their aggression and began pressing high up the Singapore half. They were roared on by a vociferous home crowd and it was apparent the Lionesses were up against massive challenge.
The Cambodian opponents finally got their breakthrough in the 77th minute, due to a mistake by Singapore substitute Khairunnisa Anwar, who was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. Kunthea Poeurn stepped up for the penalty to put the ball past Noor Kusumawati as the 4000-odd crowd broke into huge cheers.
The Lionesses fought on and defended valiantly against the Cambodians, who were running high on adrenaline. Unfortunately, all last-ditch efforts to even the score proved to be futile, and the Lionesses exited their SEA Games tournament at the group stages.
Singapore stands in third place on the table, after losing 4-0 to the Thais last Wednesday, while Cambodia had beaten Laos 2-0. The final day of group matches this Tuesday will see Thailand and Cambodia fight for the top position, while Singapore will look to hopefully recreate last year’s win against Laos again, for a consolation win to end their campaign.
Singapore: Noor Kusumawati (GK), Rosnani Azman, Fatin Ridzwan, Danelle Tan, Izzati Rosni (Sitianiwati Rosielin 83’), Putri Syaliza (Khairunnisa Anwar 46’), Umairah Hamdan, Dhaniyah Qasimah (Ernie Sulastri 90+2’), Syazwani Ruzi, Venetia Lim (Stephanie Gigette 83’), Nicole Lim (Farhanah Ruhaizat 77’)
Unused subs: Beatrice Tan (GK), Raudhah Kamis, Ho Hui Xin, Lila Tan