Sunday, 13 July 2014



The Singapore Under-23 National Team took on the first team of FK Pribram, a top flight professional team in the Czech premier football league, in a friendly match earlier today. Although our Young Lions suffered a 6 – 1 defeat, the boys gave a good account of themselves against a team who finished 12th out of 16 teams in the Czech’s premier division. The team was also filled with former Czech youth and senior international players.

The Young Lions started brightly. In the 5th minute, Al-Qassimy won the ball in defence and ran unchallenged for half the length of the field before releasing Faris Ramli down the left. He was brought down and earned a free kick just outside the penalty box.

The resulting free-kick from Faris hit the post before Shahfiq Ghani followed up with a spectacular bicycle kick that the Pribram goalkeeper Marek Bomac had to tip it over the bar at full stretch.

The Czech side turned the pressure around and scored the first goal in the 8th minute through 33-year-old Tomáš Zápotočný, a former Czech Republic international.

After the opening goal, Pribram continued to pressure the Young Lions and it took some fine defending by captain Shakir Hamzah and good goalkeeping by Rudy Khairullah to prevent the team from going further behind.

However, FK Pribram extended the lead when they scored in the 28th minute through a long range shot by Zoran Danoski. The score was 3-0 before the end of the first half when Petr Švancara, an experienced 36-year-old forward, executed a great half-volley past Rudy in the 42nd minute.

In the second half, FK Pribram’s top level experience showed when they scored two quick goals in succession in the 50thand 51st minutes through Ladislav Volešák and Dominik Kraut. 30-year-old Volešák was a former Czech under-21 international while 24-year-old Kraut was a former Czech Under-20 international.

Even though the score was at 5-0, our Young Lions refused to give up and their hard work finally paid dividends in the 57thminute when Al-Qaasimy won the ball in the final third and fed it to Shahfiq Ghani. Shahfiq Ghani’s instinctive first touch found Faris Ramli racing down the left in a one-on-one against the goalkeeper, whom he coolly dribbled past to slot the ball into an empty net.

Petr Švancara scored again in the 83rd minute to bring the final score to 6-1.

Coach Aide was proud of his charges despite the harsh result. He said: "I'm happy with my boys’ performance today. We knew we were up against extremely tough opponents who play professionally in the Czech Premier League and it was always going to be a real test for them. But my boys have done well and importantly created chances against a much better side.

"Physically, you can see that the Czech team is so much bigger and that’s because they play professionally at such a high level for a long time. I'm happy that Faris Ramli managed to score a goal for us and took it with such confidence and poise."

"The next match against Dortmund’s Under-23 team is going to be a hard task but as always, we will put in our best efforts and progress as a team throughout this trip."

Singapore U-23 Line-up

18. Rudy Khairullah (GK) (replaced by Syazwan Buhari in 45th min)

2. Shakir Hamzah (replaced by Shameer Aziq in 45th min)

3. Fadli Kamis (replaced by Ali Hudzaifi in 45th min)

7. Sahil Suhaimi (replaced by Suria Prakash in 80th min)

10. Faris Ramli (replaced by Ammirul Emmran in 62nd minute)

11. Shahfiq Ghani (replaced by Adam Swandi in 62nd minute)

14. Mohamed Iqbal

15. Sheikh Abdul Hadi

16. Muhammad Amirul Adli

19. Muhammad Nur Na'iim (replaced by Irfan Fandi in 62nd minute)

20. Al-Qaasimy Rahman (replaced by Delwinder Singh in 72nd minute)


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