Singapore U-23 lose to Malaysia in Merdeka Cup Opener
KUANTAN (Pahang) - Singapore football suffered its second defeat in as many days when the Singapore U-23 side lost 0-1 to their Malaysian counterparts in their Merdeka Cup opening match tonight (Sept 7).
The senior Lions had lost 1-6 to China in an international friendly in Tianjin yesterday but fine goalkeeping from Syazwan Buhari ensured that the U-23 side emerged from tonight’s match with a respectable 0-1 scoreline.
Torrential rain in Kuantan made conditions at the Darul Makmur Stadium difficult for both sides. Still, it was clear that the Malaysian U-23 side - who are the defending South-east Asian (SEA) Games champions, and had spent several months this year training in Europe - were the stronger side, with more control of possession and more opportunities at goal.
Singapore, coached by LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy, did well to keep the Malaysians at bay in the first half but the hosts broke the deadlock in the first minute of the second half when Thamil Arasu scored.
Singapore must have feared the worst when defender Afiq Yunos was sent off in the 54th minute for a handball offence. But Syazwan ensured that Singapore would not be punished for the misdemeanor when he brilliantly saved Wan Zack’s spot kick.
Ten-man Singapore subsequently found it hard to fashion any chances upfront and, in the end, had to settle for a 0-1 loss.
The Young Lions will next play against Thailand on Monday.