Did you catch the Singapore-Montenegro match on television tonight?
My word, watching the Singapore Cubs in action and seeing the packed terraces gave me a severe attack of the goosebumps and brought back some good memories of a Singapore national football team that I once knew and supported fervently
Looking at the composition of the team — a mix of Malays, Chinese and Eurasians — made me think of the Lions of the 1980s and early 1990s, before the Football Association of Singapore started recruiting foreign-born players for the Lions and turning them into naturalised citizens.
(Let’s hope some fine Indian players or raw gems will be discovered and unearthed soon to add to this potentially potent mix)
Well done, lads. Good show tonight.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll see you guys not only in the YOG final but also in the senior team in the years to come.
Singapore boleh! Local talents boleh!
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan
S’pore beat Montenegro
(The Straits Times Online, 19 Aug 2010)
A LATE goal by midfielder Brandon Koh gave Singapore a 3-2 win over Montenegro in a thrilling Youth Olympic Games boys’ football Group D clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
The crucial win sends the Cubs to the top of the group and means that Singapore will now avoid free-scoring Bolivia, the top team in Group C, in Sunday’s semi-finals. Instead, Singapore will face Haiti who defeated Vanuatu 2-1 in an earlier match on Thursday night to finish second in Group C, while Montenegro will face the South Americans.
In front of a roaring capacity crowd of 5,850, which included Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and three other ministers, Singapore got off to a dream start when they took a shock lead in the second minute. The goal was created by midfielder Mohd Hanafi who sent striker Suhaimi Muhaimin through on goal with an incisive pass.
Suhaimi – who scored twice in Singapore’s 3-1 win over Zimbabwe last Friday – then brought the fans on their feet when he squeezed past his two markers before slotting the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Marko Kordic. But Montenegro struck back six minutes later to silence the partisan crowd.
Singapore goalkeeper Fashah Rosedin was clearly at fault for the goal. Montenegro skipper Nebojsa Kosovic had floated a harmless-looking freekick into the Singapore box which onrushing teammate Aleksandar Boljevic failed to connect with his head. But instead of making an easy save, Fashah inexplicably fumbled the ball into the net.
Montenegro then made it 2-1 after they were awarded a penalty in the 21st minute. Referee Wilmar Roldan pointed to the spot after deciding that Singapore defender Illyas Lee had raised his boot too high when challenging Boljevic for the ball. Kosovic then calmly slotted the ball into the net to give his country a 2-1 lead.
But Singapore skipper Jeffrey Lightfoot gave the Cubs a huge psychological boost when he headed in the equaliser in the 35th minute during a corner. Montenegro goalkeeper Kordic had weakly palmed the inswinging corner away but quick-thinking Brandon Koh bicycle-kicked the ball back into the danger area. An unmarked Lightfoot then ran in to head the ball into the empty net to bring the crowd to their feet again.
Singapore goalkeeper Fashah then redeemed himself in the second-half with several brave and good saves but the turning point for Singapore came in the 63rd minute when Montenegro midfielder Nickola Jovanovic was sent off for punching Mazlan Ammirul while both were on the ground. Singapore piled on the pressure after that and the Cubs’ aggression were eventually rewarded in the 74th minute.
Montenegro defender Danilo Sarkic had robbed Mohd Hanafi of the ball at the edge of box but undid all his good work by sending a weak back pass to his goalkeeper. Seeing the golden opportunity, Brandon sprinted in to slot the ball past Kordic to spark wild celebrations in the stands.