Saturday, October 08, 2011
SINGAPORE, 7th October 2011: Singapore beat Philippines 2-0 in an International friendly that was played at Jalan Besar Stadium on 7 October 2011.
A match that was aimed as a preparation tune-up to Tuesday’s crucial FIFA World Cup Third Round qualifying campaign, proved to be something else altogether when the referee signaled the kick-off.
Both teams were raring to showcase their passing game from the get-go and it showed as the match progressed by the minute. Philippines got the honors of having the first shot at goal from striker Angel Guirado.
They almost took the lead in the 14th minute but the linesman waved his flag for an offside call. It was Singapore’s turn to go on the offensive as they created chance after chance before Shi Jiayi rifled the first genuine chance for the Lions in the 33rd minute which proved to be a routine catch for Philippines Custodian, Neil Etheridge.
The first half came to an end with both teams still on level terms and coach Radojko Avramovic made the changes as expected with Izwan Mahbud coming on for Lionel Lewis in goal.
If the first-half was a game of few chances, the second-half was a different ball game altogether. Both teams were all out to attack and the home side were duly rewarded in the 51st minute with a brilliant goal from Shaiful Esah after his shot was deflected into the net by a Filipino defender.
Philippines responded with two shots in quick succession in the 52nd minute but Izwan was on hand to produce two amazing saves.
As the clock ticked down, the Lions went on the rampage with captain Shahril Ishak darting in a powerful header which tested stopper Etheridge in the 61st minute before Aleksandar Duric doubled the advantage in the 65th minute after some good build-up play by the Lions.
Substitute, Shahdan Sulaiman laid off a well placed pass that split the Azkal’s defence to allow Duric an opportunity to put the ball into the bottom left corner.
Philippines became more offensive in search for a consolation goal as the match wore on while Singapore caught them off guard with a few counter-attacks through the likes of Hafiz Rahim and Jiayi.
The match ended with a 2-0 scoreline for Singapore to give them a winning mentality, going into their crucial game against Jordan next Tuesday.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Singapore Coach Radojko Avramovic said “I looked at this game as continuity from the two excellent matches against Malaysia, and I hoped that in this game, they will give us more confidence and belief in ourselves for the match against Jordan.’’
“It is always difficult when you try to make some changes. In the first half, our attacks were cut from midfield and we couldn’t keep possession in the opponent’s half. And when you can’t do that, you cannot create chances, we then changed the positions of a few players during the break, and the team looked a lot better.” He replied when asked what he said to his players who were different in the second half.
Coach Hans Weiss paid tribute his players who had to travel from Europe and other countries to play in this International Friendly. He added “They were tired and jet-lagged but they played well despite that fact. We were compact in the first half and played quite ok.”
Speaking on the first goal his team conceded, “I warned my players of Singapore’s set pieces as they have a few variations and we were punished by Singapore’s No.3 Shaiful Esah. But we had a couple of chances in the second half but it was not enough.”
“Singapore and Thailand are considered the best teams in the South East Asian region and we need more of such games to grow and become better. With time, we will only get stronger.”
Starting Line-up for Singapore: Lionel Lewis (Izwan Mahbud 45’), Safuwan Baharudin (Noh Rahman 45+3’), Shaiful Esah (Delwinder Singh 90+1’), Isa Halim (Hafiz Rahim 76’), Shi Jiayi, Aleksander Duric, Fazrul Nawaz (Shahdan Sulaiman 54’), Hariss Harun, Daniel Bennett, Shahril Ishak (C), Juma'at Jantan