Singapore hauled themselves back into AFF Suzuki Cup contention with a 4-2 win over Myanmar on Wednesday, but it came at great cost for the defending champions.
A first half double from Hariss Harun and a goal to Shaiful Esah settled the home side’s nerves, but Shahdan Sulaiman’s horrific leg break cast a pall over proceedings.
Myanmar mounted a credible fightback in the second half, with a fine effort from Kyaw Zayar Win and a penalty to Kyaw Ko Ko, but Khin Maung Lwin’s own goal ended their brave resistance
Meanwhile, Baihakki Khaizan’s needless yellow card and another injury to Ismadi Mukthar meant the Lions could be missing up to three players for their crucial final group encounter against Malaysia.
Only nine minutes had gone when Baihakki earned his second yellow card of the tournament for a shove on Kyaw Ko Ko long after the ball had gone, putting unnecessary pressure on the defence early in the game.
The breakthrough was not long coming though, as Shaiful Esah’s 16th minute free kick evaded everyone and dropped into goal just inside the far post.
Singapore’s joy was short lived, as Shahdan collided heavily with Khairul Amri in his own penalty area.
The frantic gesturing from his teammates for medical staff told the sorry tale, as Zulfahmi Arifin came on to replace him.
Singapore had to find their rhythm again, and it took a moment of magic from Hariss to double the advantage.
The midfielder chested down a ball on the edge of the box, unleashing a sumptious volley into the top left corner of the goal.
Ismadi then limped off to be replaced by Al-Qaasimy Rahman, with Hariss smashing a ball into the net off a failed Myanmar clearance to make it 3-0 just before the break.
Myanmar came back with a purpose in the second half, with dangerman Kyi Lin entering the fray after starting the match on the bench.
Hassan Sunny had to be alert as Kyaw Ko Ko ramped up the pressure by constantly running at the Singapore defence and shooting from distance.
There was nothing Hassan could do soon after though, as a neat one-two move allowed Kyaw Zayar Win through to curl the ball around the advancing goalkeeper ten minutes into the second half.
Singapore were buckling under the pressure, and Safuwan soon conceded his second penalty in as many matches, with Kyaw Ko Ko picking himself up to stroke the ball past Hassan.
It was left to Shaiful’s left peg to settle the contest once and for all, as a luckless Khin Maung Lwin headed past his own goalkeeper for the last score of the match.
Bernd Stange's men were able to close out the rest of the game, with Hassan booked for time-wasting late on.
Photo: Kamthorn Pornsakulpaisal