National Teams – Age-group ● Apr 30, 2023
Singapore Under-22s suffer defeat in opening 32nd SEA Games Group B fixture
Abdul Rasaq in action, 30 April 2023. Photo credit: SNOC / Eng Chin An
CAMBODIA, 30 APRIL 2023 – Singapore’s 2023 SEA Games campaign got off to a challenging start as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to last year’s finalists, Thailand.
The Young Lions were rocked as early as the seventh minute when Purachet Thodsanit whipped in a cross from the right flank which was met by Achitpol Keereerom who knocked it back across the penalty area for Teerasak Poeiphimai, who was left with a simple headed flick into the Singapore goal.
The Thais found their momentum from the onset and began controlling the tempo of the game as they looked to further their advantage. Thodsanit was put through on goal after a defensive long ball, but goalkeeper Aizil Yazid was equal to the task on this and several other occasions.
The reprieve didn’t last long as only two minutes later, Achitpol played a decisive one-two pass with Thodsanit in the penalty area before slotting the ball past Aizil as the Thais looked to cement their dominance.
Singapore was forced to respond or else risk watching the game go past them. The much-needed reaction duly came in the 41st minute when winger Jordan Emaviwe’s chip into the box with the outside of his left boot was helped on by captain Harhys Steward as striker Abdul Rasaq and Thai keeper Soponwit Rakyart battled to win possession. The ball eventually fell to forward Nicky Melvin Singh who fired a shot that was destined for goal but took a deflection off Thai defender Jakkapong Sanmahung on its way in.
With the score finely poised at 2-1 at the start of the second half, Singapore head coach Philippe Aw sought to make a tactical change, swapping out Ajay Robson for Elijah Lim. The move looked to have paid dividends as Singapore tried to take the game to their opponents in a search for the equalizing goal as they attempted to pin the Thais in their own half.
Jordan Emaviwe attempts to shoot, 30 April 2023. Photo credit: SNOC / Eng Chin An
But an incisive breakaway attack by the Thais in the 49th minute saw Pongsakorn Trisat driving a cross in from the right that caught the Singapore defence flat footed as Thodsanit reacted quickest to put his team 3-1 up.
With half an hour to go, Singapore brought on Nur Adam for Adam Reefdy and Muhammad Fairuz for Nicky Melvin Singh in a bid to spur the team for a second comeback. However, the Thais by then had looked comfortably settled, and began to systematically see out the game as they notched their first win in Group B.
Singapore U22: Aizil Yazid (GK), Harhys Stewart (Fathullah Rahmat 87′), Abdul Rasaq, Bill Mamadou, Kieran Teo, Ajay Robson (Elijah Lim 46′), Andrew Aw (Ilhan Noor 78′), Jared Gallagher, Nicky Singh (Fairuz Fazli 61′), Jordan Emaviwe, Adam Reefdy (Nur Adam 61′)
Unused subs: Wayne Chew (GK), Ryaan Sanizal, Syahadat Masnawi, Aqil Yazid