Fazrul comes off bench to spare Singapore blushes

Singapore had substitute Fazrul Nawaz to thank after he struck a superb first-time effort four minutes from time to give his country an undeserved 2-1 win over Myanmar. 

Shahril Ishak had opened the scoring but his first-half effort was cancelled out by Suan Lam Mang in the 64th minute, before Fazrul came off the bench to grab the winner.

The result was undeniably harsh on Myanmar, as they were the better team for 90 minutes.

Singapore enjoyed the first shot on target in the fifth minute when Yan Aung Lin fumbled a cross and had to parry away Hafiz Sujad's effort from the loose ball.

But the Lions were forced back thereafter and they struggled to cope with a full-on Myanmar onslaught.

In the 14th minute, goalkeeper Hassan Sunny had to be at full stretch to tip away Kyaw Ko Ko's free-kick while Afiq Yunos put in a vital interception to prevent the forward from breaking free six minutes later.

The hosts then took the lead against the run of play in the 26th minute.

Khairul Nizam chased down Harriss Harun's free-kick and managed to force a save from Aung Lin. But the ball fell back for Nizam to square to Shahril Ishak, who made no mistake from 10 yards out.

But the goal did nothing to swing the momentum of the game, as Myanmar continued to dictate play.

Ko Ko and Kyi Lin came close with shots from distance, while Aung Thu darted his way past three defenders before unleashing a fierce strike just over the bar.

Singapore could have made it 2-0 just before the break, but Shahril's fluke cross-shot was tipped over by Aung Lin, while Sahil Suhaimi shot wide despite closing down on goal.

Any talk Singapore coach Bernd Stange gave at half-time proved ineffective, as Singapore continued to be pegged back in their own half.

Hassan had to put in another fine save in the 50th minute to deny substitute Suan Lam Mang, before Aung Thu fired straight into the goalkeeper just after the hour mark.

The equaliser finally came in the 64th minute, when the Singapore defence went to sleep and allowed Lam Mang to reach Ye Ko Oo's over-the-top ball. The former deftly lobbed the onrushing Hassan to level matters.

Stange then made a spate of substitutes and only then did Singapore look a tad better.

Fazrul, who came on at half-time, could have taken back the lead for the Lions, but from close range he somehow turned Hafiz's low cross just wide of the far post in the 67th minute.

He made amends for that miss in the 86th minute in spectacular fashion though, after meeting Yasir Hanapi's cross to rifle in a first-time shot to give Stange’s side an unlikely victory.

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Photo: Weixiang Lim