National Teams – Age-group ● May 07, 2023
Draw insufficient for Singapore U-22s to progress in the 32nd SEA Games
Men’s U22s out of SEA Games group stages, 6 May 2023. Photo credit: SNOC / Lim Weixiang
PHNOM PENH, 6 MAY 2023 – Singapore’s faint hopes of qualifying for the semi-final stage of the Southeast Asian games since 2013 were effectively snuffed out when they could only draw 0-0 with Laos in their third fixture of the tournament.
Philippe Aw’s charges went into this game knowing that nothing less than a substantial win would do in order to aid their cause. However, the Laotians were in no mood to do them any favours as they looked to lift themselves off the bottom of Group B after suffering two consecutive defeats.
Elijah Lim attempts to score, 6 May 2023. Photo credit: SNOC / Lim Weixiang
Laos were keen to harass Singapore from kick-off, as they closed down the Young Lions in their own half and looked to beat them first to the ball each time. Singapore’s first chance of the match came in the 23rd minute off a long throw that fell to Elijah Lim who hit a sharp shot at the near post but the attempt was blocked on the line.
The rest of the first was an edgy affair with both teams being let down with some erratic wayward passing which saw possession swing periodically both ways. However, in the final minute of added time for the first half, defender Phonsak Seesavath made a marauding run into the Singapore penalty box after playing a one-two with Chony Wenpaserth and fired a shot that was turned away by Aizil Yazid. Kieran Teo was first to react as he shut down Roman Angot’s follow up shot to keep the tie goalless going into half-time.
Ryaan Sanizal in action, 6 May 2023. Photo credit: SNOC / Lim Weixiang
Singapore started off the second half on a positive note when as early as the 47th minute, a cross into the Laos penalty box found Ryaan Sanizal but he could not divert his header goalwards. Just two minutes later, Ajay Robson was put through on goal from a clever lobbed pass by Elijah but he could not control his shot which went over the crossbar.
Singapore was forced to make a change in the 55th minute when Abdul Rasaq went down clutching his hamstring and was duly replaced by Syahadat Masnawi.
The 61st minute saw Singapore suffering a massive scare as Laos got their best opportunity to open the scoring. Elijah’s attempted clearance deflected off a Laotian player and the ball fell to the feet of Chony who made space for himself before unleashing a shot which crashed off the base of the post.
Syahadat Masnawi attempts a penalty. Photo credit: SNOC / Lim Weixiang
Philippe decided to bring on Fathullah Rahmat for Ajay Robson while Nicky Melvin Singh replaced Elijah Lim in the search for a winner. The substitution immediately paid dividends as with his first touch of the ball, Nicky had his foot taken out from under him to win Singapore a penalty. Syahadat stepped up to take the spot kick but he skied his shot over the crossbar.
Both teams were showing signs of fatigue as the game headed into the last 10 minutes. Substitute Anousone Xaypanya whipped a cross into the Singapore penalty area in the 81st minute and Singaporean hearts stopped as Fathullah’s interception was completely miscued and crashed off the crossbar as Aizil stood rooted. Anousone’s presence on the left wing was threatening to cause havoc as some fancy footwork allowed him to cross from the byline but Athit Louanglath’s close range shot was palmed away by Aizil as Singapore held on for a draw.
Singapore will have four days to recover before taking on Malaysia in their final match on the 11th of May. While qualification is no longer on the cards, a match against the Causeway rivals will always hold special significance in terms of bragging rights. It will be down to the players to shake off the disappointment and focus on restoring some lost pride in the form of consolation win.
Singapore U22: Aizil Yazid (GK), Harhys Stewart, Ryaan Sanizal, Abdul Rasaq (Syahadat Masnawi 55′), Kieran Teo, Nur Adam, Ajay Robson (Nicky Singh 63′), Elijah Lim (Fathullah Rahmat 63′), Fairuz Fazli, Jared Gallagher, Jordan Emaviwe (Andrew Aw 78′)
Unused subs: Wayne Chew (GK), Aqil Yazid, Adam Reefdy, Ilhan Noor