Sunday, July 31, 2011

Singapore reach group stage

Singapore reach the group of the 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL ASIAN QUALIFIERS after a 1-1 draw with Malaysia in their Round Two (2nd Leg) match at the Bukit Jalil Stadium on Thursday evening.

With first leg result seeing Singapore secure a 5-3 win over Malaysia, that draw in the return leg was enough to give Singapore 6-4 aggregate win.

The match got off to a good start for Singapore as they got the first shot on goal and looked to hang on to their two goal advantage. Shi Jiayi then came close to scoring but saw his effort sail over the crossbar.

Not wanting to be outdone, Malaysia got into attack mode and almost broke the deadlock through S.Kunalan. But Singapore’s No.1, Izwan Mahbud was on hand to block his shot and his defenders cleared the shot followed through from the rebound.

The Lions kept pressure on the Tigers’ defence by creating chances from both flanks but were unable to make them count. Malaysia’s goalkeeper, Khairul Fahmi who proved impossible to beat on home turf, kept his team in the game almost single-handedly. In the 26th minute, Referee Takayama Hiroyoshi had to stop play for a few minutes after lasers were used to distract the Lions’ custodian, Izwan just before a Malaysian free kick.

The first half then came to an end with the score board unchanged but with a whole lot of action on the pitch for the fans.  

Coming back on for the second-half, the Tigers knew they had to get back into he game and did just that in the 57th minute through their striker, Safee Sali. The Lions worked doubly hard to hang on to their reduced one-goal advantage and it showed through the chances they created upfront.

Their efforts paid off when Izwan struck his one of his trademark kicks from just outside the penalty box in the 72nd minute which found Duric who then laid off a brilliant headed pass to Shi Jiayi to net Singapore’s equalizer.

With the two goal advantage back in place, the Lions stuck their game plan and shut Malaysia out. The Tigers however, surged forward to get back into the lead but on each occasion, they had their chances thwarted by the Lions’ strong defensive wall.  In the dying minutes of the match, Malaysia’s Ahmad Fakri was sent off after receiving his second yellow card.

The match came to an end with the score, Malaysia 1-1 Singapore (Aggregate: 4-6).

Singapore Coach Raddy said “The game was a good one and that too in front of a big crowd. We got the result we wanted. I have been teaching my players that this is the kind of games you live to play for as a player in front of a full capacity stadium.”

“The crowd was simply fantastic and it was a great experience for me. I will continue to grow and improve as a player after this game.” Said Singapore No.1,Izwan Mahbud.  

World Cup Qualifier (Asia Zone) Round 2, second leg
Malaysia 1-1 Singapore

Goalscorers: Shi Jiayi (72') 

Singapore: Izwan Mahbud, Safuwan Baharudin, Shi Jia Yi, Aleksandar Duric, Qiu Li, Hariss Harun, Mustafic Fahrudin, Daniel Bennett, Shahril Ishak(C) (Fazrul Nawaz 79), Shaiful Eash, Juma'at Jantan.

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