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Unlucky Singapore Defeated In First AFF Suzuki Cup Game

No fairytale start for Singapore as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Thailand in their quest to defend the AFF Suzuki Cup Championship at home. Both teams started the game cautiously but the numerous miss-passes in

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No fairytale start for Singapore as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Thailand in their quest to defend the AFF Suzuki Cup Championship at home.

Both teams started the game cautiously but the numerous miss-passes in the first 5 minutes shown by the host nation indicated their obvious nervousness in front of the 32,148 home crowd. True enough, the team assembled from the Asian Games 4th Placing winning team drew the first blood as early as 8th minute.

After some decent work on the left, Prakit Deeprom (no: 12) sent a low cross into the path of the unmarked Mongkol Thosakrai (no: 11). The Army United’s Midfielder wasted no chance by smashing the ball in from close range to give Thailand an early lead!

Fortunately, Singapore fans did not wait long for Singapore to get back to the game. In the 19th minute, Shaiful Esah (no: 13) sent in a deep cross searching for an on-running Khairul. The target-man headed in the equalizer gracefully much to the delight of all the fans at the National Stadium! That goal certainly spurred the host nation as they continued to bring the game to the Thai.

Another obvious game plan of Bernd Stange’s was the deployment of speedy duo, Sahil Suhaimi (no: 32) and Faris Ramli (no: 11), which almost paid off. The latter winger nearly gave Singapore the lead in the 24th minute but the golden opportunity was wasted due to his poor controlling. Both teams went into the half time break with a goal each.

Tactical changes were made in the second half as Baihakki Khaizan (no: 5) was replaced by Zulfahmi Mohd Arifin (no: 23). Instrumental Harris Harun (no: 14) was pulled back to partner Safuwan Baharudin (no: 21) while the newly substitute, Zulfahmi took on the Center Midfielder role together with Shadan Sulaiman (no: 8).

The tactical changes within the Singapore camp certainly did not bother the Thai. In the 51st minute, Striker, Kirati Keawsombut (no: 10) unleashed a shot from outside the penalty box which was tipped away to safety by Singapore’s custodian, Hassan Sunny (no: 18). That could have been easily a Goal of the Competition contender.

While both sides were searching for the winning goal, Faris latched on a through pass by Captain, Shahril Ishak (no: 17) in the 73rd minute, but the youngster sent his shot only into the side netting.

Just when a draw could be a decent result expected for the entertaining evening, Safuwan was caught handing the ball in the penalty box. Although Assistant Referee did not wave his flag, the main referee from Iran witnessed the incident and awarded Thailand with a penalty! The man who created the penalty, Charyl Chappuis (no: 7) took the spot kick himself and scored in the 88th minute.

Final whistle blown, Singapore suffered a cruel 2-1 defeat to Thailand.

When Singapore’s head coach, Bernd Stange was asked how he felt about the team’s performance at the Post-Match Conference, he said, “We are very unlucky not to walk away with a draw. We could have score some goals in the game earlier but we did not take our chances well. Coming from Europe, those (missed opportunities) are clear goals.”

And when Bernd Stange was asked what would be his game plan for the next 2 games against Myanmar and Malaysia, he replied, “My game plan? Just go out and win! That’s my game plan!”

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