The 3-3 draw against Oman on Wednesday night came at a cost for Singapore Under-23's Sahil Suhaimi, as the forward was left bruised and battered after the game
The Asian Games Group C encounter had goals aplenty, but Sahil was also on the receiving end of a number of over-zealous challenges.
Despite having taped up his ankles before the game, the rough treatment dished out by the Omanis resulted in Sahil having to seek treatment at least twice in the second half.
“My ankle still hurts a little now,” he told FourFourTwo after the game.
“Honestly who likes it when you get such hard knocks from the opponents?
“I thought that’s it after the second hard tackle, but after that I simply told myself not to give up and try again.”
That unwavering spirit proved vital for Singapore, as Sahil was on hand to deliver the crucial set piece which led to Safuwan Baharudin's headed equaliser five minutes from time.
It was the second time that Singapore had drawn level in the game, with Sahil coming up with a quickfire riposte barely a minute after Oman had open accounts.
“It was a fantastic feeling to hit back so quickly,” he said of his 12th minute goal.
“I saw the defenders making a mistake and their goalkeeper came very far out, thus I decided to take the shot so early.
“That goal was important because it gave us the confidence to push even harder [for the result].”
With the Omani defenders breathing down his neck, Sahil revealed that he had developed a game plan alongside fellow attackers Faris Ramli and Shahfiq Ghani to get past them.
“Me, Faris and Shahfiq played some one-touch football because both of their centre backs are a bit slow,” he said.
“The three of us have played so many years together now so we understand how each other play. That makes it easy for us.”
It was a shrewd move which ultimately paid off as the Omanis gradually tired and conceded free kicks near their penalty area – one which eventually resulted in the equaliser.
The 22-year-old believes they will need more of the same in their final group C game against Palestine on Sunday, as he seeks to recover in time for the clash.
“We have to put up the same show as we did against Oman to get through the second half,” he said.
“I’m going to have some treatment and massage on my ankle to release the pain, but we have the best medical staff here. I’m sure I’m sure I’ll recover before Sunday.”
Photo: Peh Siong San/SNOCcomments