National Team - Lions ● Sep 22, 2022

Lions go down to Vietnam in friendly tournament opener


Shah Shahiran controls the ball, 21 September 2022


HO CHI MINH CITY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2022 – It was a tough Wednesday (21/9) evening for the Singapore Men’s National Team as they went down 4-0 to Vietnam in the opening match of the Hung Thinh International Football Tournament 2022.


Nguyen Van Quyet broke the deadlock as half-time approached and the hosts added three more goals after the break at the Thong Nhat Stadium in front of over 9,000 spectators. Before kick-off, a minute of silence was observed in honour of Football Association of Singapore President, Mr. Lim Kia Tong, who passed away last Wednesday.


One of two friendly matches during this week’s international window that are part of preparations for the year-end ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric (ME) Cup 2022, Takayuki Nishigaya took the opportunity to integrate some fresh faces and asserted that it was important to do so, despite the result.


Taufik Suparno tries to fend off two opponents, 21 September 2022


“Of course, I am disappointed with the result,” he said. “But I am happy with some of the new players’ performances… We always aim to win matches but it is also important for the new and younger players to get minutes at this level. Friendly matches like these are important because it allows me to assess the new players.


“When opportunities to play international matches are limited, we need to find the balance between fielding our best team and giving opportunities to other players to see if they can perform at this level.”


Geylang International midfielder Joshua Pereira, 24, made his senior international debut by starting in central midfield and was singled out by the Japanese tactician as one who impressed. “Joshua was able to adapt to this level but he needs to work on his fitness (in order to play at a high level for the whole match),” Nishigaya added.


Ilhan Fandi heads the ball, 21 September 2022


With Shahdan Sulaiman missing out due to illness, and both Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi still recovering from injuries, it meant that centre-back Ryaan Sanizal, 20, earned his second cap while midfielder M. Anumanthan was deployed alongside him in a three-man defence. The latter was pushed back into midfield later in the match, while Ilhan Fandi, 19, led the line on his fourth appearance for the Lions. Youngsters Ryhan Stewart and Glenn Kweh, both 22, came off the bench while there were first international outings for Ho Wai Loon and Sahil Suhaimi since October 2018 and November 2019 respectively.


The home side left out the likes of Nguyen Quang Hai and Nguyen Cong Phuong but were still able to control proceedings, although they were perhaps fortunate not to fall behind when Ilhan headed an inviting free-kick from Shah Shahiran over in the 26th minute.


M. Anumanthan plays the ball, 21 September 2022


Park Hang Seo’s charges broke the deadlock on 37 minutes through Nguyen Van Quyet, who found the bottom left corner from 25 yards after the Lions ceded possession in their defensive third. Buoyed, the Golden Star Warriors cranked up the pressure and scored a second in the 50th minute. Substitute Nguyen Thanh marked his international debut in style, meeting a cross from the right by leathering the ball across Hassan Sunny into the bottom right corner. Ho Tan Tai headed in Phan Van Duc’s precise left-wing cross in the 71st minute before Khuat Van Khang also netted on his debut by pouncing on a defensive error in the 84th minute to round off the victory.


Nishigaya took note of how 97th-ranked Vietnam maintained a “high level of play at a high intensity” throughout the entire match and said: “The higher the level (on the international stage), the more likely we will get punished when we make mistakes. We need to maintain our concentration levels at a high standard for the entire game. We have to play these (kind of) games (against quality opposition) and we have to get used to this level, so we can prepare well for the AFF ME Cup.”


The Lions will take on India next on Saturday, 24 September in their second and final match of the tournament.


Singapore’s lineup, 21 September 2022


Singapore: Hassan Sunny (GK), Hariss Harun (C), Ryaan Sanizal (Amirul Adli 46’), M. Anumanthan, Hafiz Nor, Shah Shahiran, Joshua Pereira (Ho Wai Loon 62’), Adam Swandi (Sahil Suhaimi 79’), Nazrul Nazri (Ryhan Stewart 62’), Taufik Suparno (Hazzuwan Halim 46’), Ilhan Fandi (Glenn Kweh 72’).
Unused subs: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Mukundan Maran (GK), Syed Firdaus Hassan, Ikhsan Fandi, Irfan Fandi.


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