Tag Archives: Singapore

Singapore’s Asian Cup qualifying hopes still alive despite 1-3 loss to Iran

Singapore may have lost 1-3 to Iran tonight in their Group E Asian Cup qualifier at the National Stadium.

But the Lions can still reach their first Asian Cup finals since hosting the competition back in 1984 after Thailand failed to beat Jordan in Bangkok in the other Group E tie.

The Thais, coached by former Manchester United star Bryan Robson, were held to a 0-0 draw and the result means that Singapore and Thailand both have six points with Jordan on five and a game to play.

But it will be tough for Singapore though.

Reason: they have a tough away game on 3 March against  Jordan who are also in contention for the second qualifying spot in the group.

On the other hand, Thailand travel to Tehran to face Iran, who may opt to take it easy now that they have already qualified for the 2011 Finals in Doha, Qatar.

Indeed, the win has eased the pressure on under-fire Iran coach Afshin Ghotbi who had been under fire from Iranian fans and media after a humiliating loss to Jordan in November.

According to a Reuters report, Iranian fans at the National Stadium were even handing out posters of the coach with his face crossed out before kick-off.

But all was forgiven after 12 minutes, thanks to Iran’s Hadi Aghily and Mehrzad Madanchi.

Aghily scored a controversial penalty in the 10th minute after defender Precious Emuejeraye was judged  by the referee to have tripped an Iranian player in the box.

Minutes later,  Madanchi made it 2-0 after Mustafic Fahrudin misplaced a pass on the edge of the box, allowing the Al-Ahli midfielder slot the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Hassan Sunny.

To Singapore’s credit, the Lions, who had looked out of their depth at that point, had enough spirit and presence of mind to make a feisty comeback.

And they were eventually rewarded for their efforts when skipper Noh Alam Shah scored with a superb diving header.

Buoyed by the goal, Raddy Avramovic’s men went on to enjoy the best of the first period before the half time whistle sounded.

And Singapore came agonisingly close to equalising just after the break.

Shaiful Esah’s inswinging corner was flicked on by Baihakki Khaizan’s head. The ball sailed over the Iranian defence before Khairul Amri met it with a wonderful diving header.

Alas, although the ball beat the Iranian goalkeeper, it didn’t find the net. Instead, it struck the crossbar and was then cleared to safety by the Iranians.

The Lions’ luck ran out after that.

In pushing forward, Singapore, who also sent substitute striker Indra Sahdan  on to combine with Khairul and Alam Shah upfront, left themselves exposed at the back

And  Iran eventually struck on the break to seal the win, creating  a brilliant three-man move that culminated in a cheeky lob by veteran defender Rahman Rezaei over the powerless Hassan Sunny.

From there Iran were comfortable in their lead and went on to qualify for the Finals.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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Newsflash: Singapore are kings of water-polo again, while U-23 football team gets first win

Singapore captured the first golds of the 25th South-east Asian Games today when our national water-polo team defeated Thailand 8-5 in the final match of their round-robin tournament in Vientiane, Laos.

The result meant that Singapore finished top of the four-nation competition with three wins. The Republic had defeated Indonesia 14-1 and the Philippines 8-1 in earlier matches.

It also means that Singapore has won the water-polo title for the 23rd consecutive time. Our national water-polo team has never been been dethroned in the regional Games since its inception in 1965.

Singapore did play poorly in the first half and even trailed Thailand 2-3 at the break. But the players bounced back to turn the deficit into eventual victory.

As our water-polo team celebrated in the pool, there was also joy in the football field as the Under-23 team defeated Myanmar 2-1 to secured their first group stage win of the competition.

Defender Shaiful Esah was once again the architect of Singapore’s two goals. His sweet left foot curled in two accurate crosses, one in the 14th minute and the second in the 28th minute.

The first one was once again met by defender Safuwan Baharudin who rose above the Myanmar defence to head home his second goal of the tournament. The goal was identical to the one the 18-year-old scored against Indonesia two days back.

Singapore’s second goal was also identical to the first as defender Hariss Harun ran into the box, launched himself forward and torpedoed the ball with his head past the fully-stretched Myanmar goalkeeper.

However, as Singapore celebrated, there were fears that the team would squander the two-goal lead again, just as they did against Indonesia.

And in the 89th minute, it seemed as though that nightmare was going to repeat itself when M yanmar’s Soe  Min Oo sprinted past two Singapore defenders into the box and flicked the ball past  advancing Singapore keeper Hyrulnizam Jumaat.

But despite showing signs of increasing nervousness as the four minutes of stoppage time ticked away, the Singapore players did enough to keep their Myanmarese opponents at bay before celebrating wildly when the referee blew the final whistle.

Singapore will meet Laos in their next group match on Thursday, and need only a draw to advance to the semi-finals. However, they will need to be wary of the hosts which defeated Indonesia 2-0. The team will also be without Safuwan who is suspended after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament.

The Singapore Sports Fan would like to congratulate both the water-polo team and the footballers for their hard-earned victories today. Great work, guys! Thank you for playing with so much pride and passion.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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SEA Games: Singapore waste chance to win Group B football opener against Indonesia

Singapore’s Under-23 football team squandered a golden opportunity to get their SEA Games campaign off to a flying start today when they surrendered a dream 2-0 lead to eventually scramble a 2-2 draw with Indonesia.

National coach Terry Pathmanathan, who opted to field a lone striker against the Indonesians at the National Stadium in Vientiane, could scarcely believe his eyes when Singapore took the lead in the third minute, and doubled it 20 minutes later.

Alas, the former national skipper was left looking on in disbelief and horror as the Indonesians recovered from the two blows to secure the draw.

In fact, Singapore were fortunate to escape with a point in the end as the Indonesians grew in confidence in the second-half and constantly peppered the Singapore goal with shots from all angles and distances.

But a string of saves by Jasper Chan and poor finishing by the Indonesians saw the ragged and exhausted Singapore players heaving huge sighs of relief  when the referee eventually blew the final whistle.

Yet, the result could have been so different for Singapore this evening, especially after defender Safuwan Baharudin connected sweetly with Shaiful Esah’s cross in the third minute to give Singapore a shock lead.

Twenty minutes later, it seemed as though Singapore was on their way to a famous victory when Shaiful curled a delightful freekick past the out-of-position Indonesian goalkeeper who was left clawing at air as the swerving ball stayed out of his reach before dipping into the net.

But it was the Indonesians who went into the break with the psychological advantage after striker Stevie Bonsapia pulled a goal back in the 41st minute.

The architect of that goal was Sultan Samma who dribbled his way into the Singapore box and drew everyone towards him at the left post before sending a pass across for the unmarked Bonsapia to tap into an empty net.

Confidence restored, the Indonesians started to dominate the match after the break and were unlucky not to score on a number of occasions.

Singapore also had to thank their lucky stars that Safuwan was not dismissed in the 51st minute after his very late trip on goal-bound striker Engel Berth Sani who had skipped past his initial challenge.

But Indonesia finally scored their much-deserved equaliser in the 64th minute when unmarked defender Rendi ran in to meet an inswinging corner and power home a header past the rooted Jasper.

Indonesia missed two more golden opportunities in the 81st and 85th minute.

In the former, only a late sliding tackle by defender Eddie Chang on Engel in the box prevented the Indonesian from having a clear strike at goal while Jasper was at full stretch four minutes later to tip over Ranchart’s screaming freekick.

Singapore  did have one opportunity to steal the win in the dying seconds but Isa Halim’s 20m strike whizzed past the post.

A minute later, the final whistle sounded to leave Singapore rueing a wasted opportunity to win its opening Group B game.

Yours in sport

Singapore Sports Fan

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