Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shaiful Esah, the hero as Lions battered Indonesia 3-1

Singapore secured a comfortable 3-1 victory in Wednesday night’s friendly international against Indonesia at the National Stadium, two headed goals from Aleksandar Duric and another from Noh Alam Shah enough to see off a somewhat below-par opponent.

All three goals came from set plays, with top-notch delivery from free-kicks for the first two goals and just as good service from a corner kick for the third, all thanks to the dead-ball skills of Shaiful Esah.

Singapore had earned corners early in the game, before the Indonesians needlessly conceded a free-kick, out wide on the right, when a marauding Shahril Ishak had been brought down, with only ten minutes gone.

Shaiful’s crisply-struck free-kick came at an awkward trajectory for the Indonesian defenders to deal with and Duric, closest to goal of a number of attacking players, got his head to the ball with all his customary aplomb, as the keeper remained rooted to his goal line.

Poor marking, however, by the Lions’ defence, three minutes later, saw Indonesia draw level as a swift move from the right, and then into the centre, had home team defenders backing off. The ball was not dealt with and Eka Ramdani was able to sweep the ball low past a helpless Hassan Sunny.

The passing from both teams had to that stage been good, but the marking was poor from Indonesia most of the time and that undid all their good work going forward.

Singapore continued to enjoy most of the possession and their passes seemed to find their men with ease as gaps opened up all over the field.

The Lions were completely on top as they enjoyed the run of the park, a well-drilled side benefitting from the continuity they had enjoyed in the recently completed tournament in Vietnam, something that was certainly a factor contributing to their overall superiority.

Ridhuan Muhamad was well to the fore down the right flank and after he had been brought down, Shaiful’s next free kick, in the 21st, allowed Alam Shah to head firmly past the keeper, from 10 yards out.

Noh Rahman, captain on this occasion, got in a cross as well, in the 23rd, the ball once again eluding a number of waiting heads in the goalmouth, to keep the score down to 2-1 in favour of the locals.

But the pressure was beginning to tell on some Indonesian defenders who were taking a physical approach to curb the flow of Singapore possession.

After a 30 yard shot from Fahrudin Mustafic had been tipped brilliantly over the bar by Rihihina in the 26th, Alam Shah had a long-range effort that cleared the bar and only a fruitless corner and a wasted free kick was all the Indonesians had to show for their efforts as the half time whistle sounded.

Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic changed keepers at half time, bringing on Lionel Lewis for Hassan, later introducing Indra for Shahril Ishak at the hour mark and Hariss Harun for Fahrudin who had taken a knock in the 55th.

Khairul Amri and Precious also came on for the last 20 minutes or so for Ridhuan and Daniel Bennett.

Goal number three, another first-rate corner from Shaiful that reached Duric in the goalmouth, whose back was to the goal. The ball skimmed off the back of the head of the veteran, whose intent was deliberate enough to fool the keeper yet again.

International Friendly
Singapore 3-1 Indonesia

Scorers - Aleksandar Duric 10, 58 Noh Alam Shah 21

Singapore:Hassan Sunny (Lionel Lewis 46), Noh Rahman (C), Baihakki Khaizan, Daniel Bennett (Precious Emuejeraye 73), Shaiful Esah, Ridhuan Muhammad (Khairul Amri 70), John Wilkinson, Mustafic Fahrudin (Hariss Harun 53), Shahril Ishak (Fazrul Nawaz 60), Noh Alam Shah (Indra Sahdan 60), Aleksandar Duric

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