Pereira stars as Singapore U-21s steamroll Hong Kong

Singapore Under-21s delivered a resounding 5-0 victory over Hong Kong on Wednesday evening to make the International Challenge Cup final. 

The Young Lions will face Iran, who prevailed 5-4 on penalties after their game with Uzbekistan ended in a 1-1 draw at full-time.

Joshua Pereira was the toast of his side, as he was involved in nearly every goal scored by the Young Lions.

Singapore took merely five minutes to threaten Hong Kong, with Adam Swandi going close as his lashed drive went just wide of the post.

The hosts continued to probe and were rewarded with a goal in the 17th minute, as Dhukilan Jeevamani headed in the opener following Pereira’s flick on.

Pereira himself got in on the act in the 34th minute, as he ran onto a pass by Jonathan Tan and smashed home from close range to make it 2-0.

Singapore would grab another goal just before the break through Pereira yet again, as the silky midfielder was released by Amiruldin Asraf and he finished with aplomb.

A fourth goal came after the break, with Pereira playing an integral role yet again.

Pereira was excellent against Hong Kong

Showing great footwork to beat his marker, the Young Lions midfielder found Muhaimin Suhaimi inside the box and the latter made no mistake from close range.

Singapore capped a great evening in the 57th minute, as Amiruldin grabbed his brace by driving in a shot from the edge of the box.

Singapore Under-21 head coach Richard Tardy was satisfied his charges achieved the victory expected of them but he insisted there was still room for improvement.

“We are happy to win an international game and we won 5-0, it’s been a long time that we got a win with this score and this is good for the morale of the team,” Tardy said at the post-match conference.

“We know Hong Kong were not very strong but we did what we needed to do to beat them and we played very seriously.

“We must do more and better because at the beginning of the first half and second half we didn't start very well and we must correct this problem. We defended too much in the beginning and we didn't press too much.”

Tardy also singled out several players for praise, including Pereira and Adam.

“Joshua played well and I’m happy with Adam Swandi, I asked him to be a technical leader and he did his job; he gave a good assist,” he added.

“Amiruldin also played well and he scored a very nice goal.”

Photos: FAS