Singapore’s young cubs went down 1-2 to Iran in an Asian Youth Games football tournament secound-round group match held at the Jalan Besar Stadium this afternoon.
As AYG hosts, the Republic had automatically qualified for the second round of the group stages, but its chances of advancing to the semi-fnals must now seem a tough bet after today’s defeat, and China’s thrashing of Thailand.
Iran, which played only one qualifying match in the first round – a 6-0 drubbing of Taiwan – after the Philippines team was quarantined for the H1N1 virus and eliminated from the competition, took the lead in the second half.
Siavesh Haghnazari – who scored a goal against Taiwan – got his second of the tournament today in the 49th minute, but Singapore striker Mohd Hanafi Mohd Akbar raised the home supporters’ hopes of a draw with his 57th minute equaliser.
But Iran skipper Bahman Jahantigh broke the Young Cubs’ hearts with his 70th minute winner.
In another Group A match, China thrashed Thailand 7-0 to go top of the group.
Skipper Yan Peng scored five goals while Long Cheng and Liang Xueming scored a goal apiece.
The result comes as a surprise as China had a lacklustre first round campaign. It had thrashed Myanmar 7–3 and was held to a surprising 0-0 draw by unfancied Pakistan. It then lost 2-3 to South Korea.
However, today’s impressive performance against the Thais means that the Chinese must now be regarded as one of the teams to watch in this competition.
Singapore will play Thailand on Monday at the Jalan Besar Stadium at 4pm
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan