Tuesday, 22 July 2014



SALZBURG, AUSTRIA, 21 JULY 2014: The Singapore National Under-23 Team played a friendly match today against TSV Freilassing at the Flachau training ground and convincingly beat the German club 5-0. It was the third and final fixture of the team’s training tour to Austria.

Singapore started brightly, with Iqbal Hussain scoring in the 2nd minute after a low cross was sent in from Stanely Ng following some good work on the left wing. Five minutes later, a well-flighted diagonal ball found Shameer Aziq on the right flank. He fed the ball to the overlapping Fadli Kamis who crossed, but it was cleared by TSV.

Singapore team was on the ascendancy, with wave after wave of attacks buffeting the German side’s defence and resulting in the second goal. A TSV clearance in the 10th minute was intercepted by Iqbal, who put Shameer through on goal. He raced free of the last defender to slot home and put Singapore 2-0 up.

TSV’s first attempt on goal came in the 12th minute, as a freekick was conceded in a dangerous area. Goalkeeper Syazwan was equal to the shot though, and quickly released the ball. It was worked to Iqbal who duly scored his second goal to give Singapore a comfortable 3-0 cushion. The shock of conceding three goals in the opening exchanges of the game spurred TSV to life, and they slowly attempted to get back in the match. A 20th minute freekick was well collected by Syazwan, and another 10 minutes later saw him being forced to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Iqbal was a constant thorn in TSV’s skin, running almost half the length of the field in the 33rd minute with the ball before it was sent to Muhaimin Suhaimi on the right flank. Unfortunately, Muhaimin’s cut-back was soft and the TSV goalkeeper Sergen Batur gratefully collected the ball.

TSV made their physical advantage count in the 40th minute when a header off a freekick sailed just over the bar. It proved to be the final attempt on goal by either side in the first half.

It was a much-changed Singapore Under-23 side the emerged for the second half, with five substitutions including goalkeeper Syazwan coming off to be replaced by Rudy Khairullah, who celebrated his 20th birthday just two days ago. A chastened TSV was very cautious and did not allow Singapore any shots on target until the 57th minute, when a scramble on the edge of the penalty area saw the ball fall to substitute Suria Prakash. However, Batur was left thanking the stars when Suria’s shot went straight at him.

That fortune was not to last much longer, as Muhaimin made it 4-0 in the 59th minute when a ball over the top caught the TSV defence out and he fired home. Shahfiq Ghani, one of the five half-time substitutes, showed the last defender a clean set of heels in the 62nd minute but TSV goalkeeper Batur saved his defender’s blushes by saving with his feet in the one-on-one situation.

The fluency of Singapore’s play was not affected by continued substitutions as Irfan Fandi, who had come on just five minutes earlier, centred the ball in the 70th minute for fellow substitute Suria, who was brought down before he could take a shot. Five minutes later, the lively Suria robbed a TSV midfielder in the centre of the pitch and went on a mazy run before sending the ball to the right wing, but the resulting cross was cleared.

Not to be outdone, Ikhsan Fandi – who had replaced Ali Hudzaifi – went one better as he embarked on a long run of his own in the 83rd minute, shrugging off several challenges before scoring a beautiful fifth goal for the Under-23s.

It could have been 6-0 just two minutes later as Delwinder Singh almost scored from a corner, but the ball went just over. Play quickly switched to the other end of the field, with TSV missing the chance to score a consolation goal as a TSV player rose unchallenged to meet a corner, only to miss the target as well. Suria then went on another run in the 87thminute, again beating a few TSV players down the left flank but finally just ran out of space as the ball went out for a goal kick. A frenetic five minutes of action was capped when Irfan fed the ball to his brother Ikhsan, whose shot fizzed inches over the bar before the referee blew for full-time shortly after.

“I think it was a good game for the boys. Everybody got a chance to play, which is important especially when you go on a tour like this. We started very well, but slowed down after the first 20 minutes or so. If we continued playing that way the entire game, we could have had an even better result, but I am pleased because everybody got the opportunity to play,” said coach S. Subramani after the match.

Singapore National Under-23 Team Line-up
30. Syazwan Buhari (GK) (replaced by Rudy Khairullah in 45th minute)
2. Fadli Kamis (replaced by Sim Teck Yi in 67th minute)
3. Sheikh Abdul Hadi (C)
7. Shameer Aziq (replaced by Irfan Fandi in 65th minute)
9. Stanely Ng (replaced by Suria Prakash in 45th minute)
10. Nur Na'iim Ishak (replaced by Adam Swandi in 45th minute)
14. Iqbal Hussain (replaced by Shahfiq Ghani in 45th minute)
16. Amirul Adli (replaced by Delwinder Singh in 45th minute)
19. Amy Recha Pristifana (replaced by Muhaimin Suhaimi in 22nd minute)
24. Ammirul Emmran (replaced by Hafiz Abu Sujad in 53rd minute)
26. Ali Hudzaifi (replaced by Ikhsan Fandi in 71st minute)

1. Shahul Rayyan (GK)
4. Delwinder Singh
8. Hafiz Abu Sujad
11. Shahfiq Ghani
12. Suria Prakash
17. Irfan Fandi
18. Rudy Khairullah (GK) (replaced by Shahul Rayyan in 78th minute)
21. Ikhsan Fandi
23. Muhaimin Suhaimi
27. Adam Swandi
28. Sim Teck Yi

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