Singapore beat Philippines, maintain winning start to Suzuki Cup
SINGAPORE — For 60 minutes on Wednesday (Dec 8), the Lions huffed and puffed. Passes went wide and long, the midfield battle looked a gridlock and a stalemate seemed on the cards.
SINGAPORE — For 60 minutes on Wednesday (Dec 8), the Lions huffed and puffed.
Passes went wide and long, the midfield battle looked a gridlock and a stalemate seemed on the cards.
But in a stunning three-minute spell in the second half, Singapore found their teeth and bit back, sealing a 2-1 victory over a dogged Philippines side at the National Stadium.
Goals from skipper Hariss Harun and Faris Ramli were enough for Tatsuma Yoshida’s men, as they won a second consecutive game at the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Despite the comfortable 3-0 win over Myanmar on Sunday, the Japanese tactician rang in the changes — with Zulfahmi Arifin, Gabriel Quak, Zulqarnean Suzliman and M Anumanthan making their first starts of the competition.
It was Quak who looked the most dangerous for Singapore early on, as he forced the Philippines custodian into a comfortable save in the fourth minute before poking over several minutes later.
The Lions then won a freekick on the edge of the box in the 19th minute, but Zulfahmi’s shot was easily gathered by the Azkals’ goalkeeper Kevin Hansen.
Then it was Faris Ramli’s turn to have a go with an ambitious acrobatic effort, but that only found the roof of the net and the Singaporean was ruled offside as well.
While the away side had their fair share of possession, they largely failed to trouble Lions custodian Hassan Sunny.
It was Singapore defender Shakir Hamzah who would have the best chance of the first half, but he bent the ball wide just before the break.
The Philippines’ grip on the game continued to grow and they were in control in the second half.
But it was Singapore that were the first to fashion a clear-cut chance as excellent interplay between Faris and Gabriel led to a Shakir cutback which was put out for a throw.
Then in the span of two minutes, the home side found their footing.
First it was skipper Hariss Harun who nodded home from close range in the 62nd minute after a Safuwan flick on.
Then just two minutes later, a lung-busting run from Zulqarnaen found Faris Ramli, who tapped home from close range.
While shell shocked, the Philippines pulled one back, courtesy of a header from Amin Nazari in the 69th minute.
And while they tried their best to find an equaliser, strong defensive rearguard action by Singapore’s backline sealed the win.
Singapore will next face cellar-dwellers Timor Leste next Tuesday. The away side have played two games and lost both. CNA
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