National Team - Lions ● Nov 21, 2023
Frustration for Singapore as Thais inflict second consecutive defeat in World Cup qualifier
Safuwan Baharudin in action, November 2023.
SINGAPORE 21 NOVEMBER 2023 – Rainy skies were once again the order of the day as the heavens opened up once again on matchday. Both Singapore and Thailand knew nothing less than a win was needed to get their respective World Cup & Asian Cup qualifying campaigns back on track. By the final whistle, the final scoreline of 3-1 in favour of the War Elephants shattered Singapore’s aspirations, leaving their hopes of qualifying to the next round looking significantly more difficult after two consecutive losses.
In a gripping encounter in front of 29,644 fans at the Singapore National Stadium, the Lions matched Thailand in the first half, even drawing level by halftime after conceding to an early opening goal in the fourth minute. Captain Theerathon Bunmathan’s throw-in into the penalty box was flicked on by Ekanit Panya and the pass was finished off by Supachok Sarachat. Singapore looked to exploit the gaps in the Thai three-man defence, and they finally managed to do so in the 41st minute when Safuwan Baharudin won a challenge in midfield and captain Hariss Harun was able to dink the ball to Ilhan Fandi. The 21-year-old striker cleverly held up play as he waited for Song Uiyoung to come in from the left. Song’s cross into the box found Shawal Anuar and while his shot was partially parried by keeper Kampon Phatomakkakul, it was always destined for the back of the net.
Shawal Anuar scored his 11th international goal, November 2023.
While both coaches made tactical substitutions in a bid to take the lead, it was Thailand’s wily veteran striker, Teerasil Dangda, who proved to be the instrumental change. He took barely a minute after coming on in the 65th minute to lay off a pass to Suphanat Mueanta for the crucial second goal that put the pressure back on the hosts to respond. In their efforts to do so, the Lions were left exposed on a quick counterattack towards the end of the game, and Suphanat completed his brace in the 87th minute with a low shot from outside the box that beat Hassan Sunny. The Singapore custodian had been one of his team’s better players on the night, producing a number of saves that kept the Thais at bay.
The Singapore custodian had been one of his team’s better players on the night, producing a number of saves that kept the Thais at bay, November 2023.
The defeat comes on the heels of an away 5-0 loss to South Korea, placing Singapore at the bottom of their World Cup qualifying group. They will next face China twice next March, first at home on 21 March before travelling to China five days later.
Singapore: Hassan Sunny (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Lionel Tan (Zulfahmi Arifin 77’), Safuwan Baharudin, Ryhan Stewart (Christopher Van Huizen 77’), Jacob Mahler, Hariss Harun (C), M. Anumanthan, Song Uiyoung (Ikhsan Fandi 77’), Shahdan Sulaiman (Shawal Anuar 20’), Ilhan Fandi (Hami Syahin 60’)
Unused subs: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Amirul Adli, Adam Swandi, Hafiz Nor, Daniel Goh, Zulqarnaen Suzliman
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