Asian Cup qualifiers: Singapore hands itself a lifeline with a 1-0 win over Thailand

The report:

Here’s the match report of Singapore’s 1-0 win over Thailand. The bulk of the report came from Reuters. I added some of my own observations in as well. Cheers:

BANGKOK – Singapore banished all memories of a nightmarish defeat by Thailand on Saturday and climbed to second place in their Asian Cup qualifying group after snatching a crucial 1-0 away win against their South-east Asian rivals  tonight.

In front of a 45,000 crowd at the Rajamangala Stadium, lacklustre Thailand  looked nothing like the side which beat Singapore 3-1 away on Saturday and paid the price for some sloppy defending and wayward finishing as former England international Bryan RObson suffered his first defeat as an international coach.

Instead, it was Singapore that went ahead against the run of play 38 minutes into a scrappy game when Aleksandar Duric, A 39-year-old former Olympic canoeist, he leapt high in the air to connect with Shaiful Esah’s inswinging corner to beat goalkeeper Kittisak Rawangpa from close range.

Kittisak was mostly to blame for the goal as he failed to exert his presence in the aerial battle with Duric, allowing the Singapore striker to get in front of him and feebly attempting to swat the ball away.

Teerasil Dangda came close to levelling the score in first-half stoppage time when he skipped round two defenders but shot just wide of the far post.

The hosts went all out for an equaliser and continued to dominate after the break, but Teerasil, Suchao Nutnum and Pipat Tongkanya each squandered perfect scoring chances in front of a Singapore defence that was marshalled ablely by Daniel Bennett and Precious Emuejeraye.

Precious was a surprise replacement for Mohammed Noh Rahman especialy after a recent string of torrid performances for the Lions but the Nigerian-born player would have earned himself many redemption points tonight with his steady and confident performace especially late in the second half s the Thais piled on the pressure.

Raw but impressive youngster Hariss Harun also put in a solid and promising  performace in defensive midfield while Khairul Amri, a replacement for suspended strker Noh Alam Shah put n a display full of effort and running for a second game.

Howver, Singapore also suffered a blow in the 30th minute of the game when hard man Mustafic Fahrudin had to be taken off because of an ankle injury inflicted by Datsakorn Thonglao.

He was replaced by Noh Rahman who also redeemed himself with a efficient performance after Saturday’s quiet display.

The win moved Singapore into second place in Group E with six points, leaving Thailand third on five. Iran lead on seven, with the top two qualifying for the finals in Qatar 2011.

“The competition is now really open and we now have a better opportunity to qualify,” Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic told reporters. “We had the discipline, we defended well and that’s what’s it’s all about.”

Robson rued his team’s poor marking in his first defeat as Thailand coach but said he was confident they would still qualify.

 “I’m very disappointed — it should have been 0-0,” Robson said. “It was a lapse of concentration and a very costly one. It’s not over yet and we still have a good chance to qualify.”

– end of report –

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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