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Lions Suffer Heartbreak Following Late Turkmenistan Goal

Tue, 05 Sep 2017

Lions Suffer Heartbreak Following Late Turkmenistan Goal

Singapore were denied three points on Tuesday night after drawing 1-1 with Turkmenistan at Jalan Besar Stadium in front of 3,712 fans in their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Group E game.

The Lions had dominated the encounter but failed to take their chances, allowing Annadurdyyev Altymyrat to cancel out Shakir Hamzah’s 62nd minute opener with a late equaliser.

The first chance of the game fell for the visitors in the fourth minute when Annayev Myrat played Amanov Arslanmyrat through, only for the Emeralds skipper to drill his shot wide.

That was as good as it got for Turkmenistan in the opening half though, as it was the Lions who took control thereafter and began to conjure up scoring opportunities.

However, the likes of Daniel Bennett and Safuwan Baharudin could only watch their efforts go just wide, after being on the end of superb deliveries from their teammates.

The hosts’ best chance of the half came in the 33rd minute, when Khairul Amri combined superbly with Zulfahmi Arifin and Faris Ramli to fire off a shot at the near post, only to see it deflected onto the woodwork.

Hariss Harun met Zulfahmi’s delivery from the resulting corner, but his header took a strong bounce before going just over.

After the break, the Lions continued to dominate possession and it seemed like a breakthrough was imminent.

So it proved in the 62nd minute, as captain Hariss muscled his way into the box and laid the ball on for Shakir Hamzah to volley past Orazmuhamedov Mamed.

The hard-earned lead could have been lost 14 minutes later, as Arslanmyrat curled in a corner which an alert Hassan Sunny punched away.

Sensing danger, Singapore tried their best to secure a second goal and nearly found it in the 80th minute, when Safuwan picked up a loose ball in the box and fired at goal, only to be denied by Orazmuhamedov.

The Lions were made to pay for that miss just minutes later, as Annadurdyyev latched onto Gurbanov Merdan's cross before slotting home the equaliser from close range.

That proved to be the last meaningful goalmouth action in the match, as the referee soon blew for full-time.

National Team Head Coach V. Sundram Moorthy was disappointed not to have picked up three points at home, especially with the amount of chances his side had.

“You saw the team against Hong Kong (in last week's friendly match) and here; we were creating chances. You compare both teams tonight, we should have scored the second goal and we should have had a comfortable lead,” he lamented.

“We had chances to finish the game… the boys have done well. But in the last quarter, we should have done better, I believe we were tiring faster than the opponents.”

Sundram however urged his team to pick themselves up, as they prepared for their final three games in the campaign.

“Players like Zulfahmi Arifin had a very good game; he is more of a midfielder and now he is playing in defence but he hardly put a foot wrong,” he added.

“We have to believe in the boys. It is also about them believing in themselves – we could have beaten these opponents.”

Singapore: Hassan Sunny (GK), Shakir Hamzah, Daniel Bennett, Irfan Fandi (Faritz Hameed 75’), Nazrul Nazari (Madhu Mohana 68’), Hariss Harun (C), Zulfahmi Arifin, Izzdin Shafiq, Safuwan Baharudin, Faris Ramli, Khairul Amri (Fazrul Nawaz 36’)


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