Singapore 4-2 Cambodia: Lions sink plucky visitors in final warm-up

The Singapore national team overcame the spirited Cambodians in a six-goal thriller at Yishun Stadium on Monday evening.

All six goals were scored in the first 45 minutes, with Khairul Amri opening the floodgates inside 10 minutes.

Khuon Laburavy levelled matters for the visitors on 27 minutes, before Singapore retook the lead two minutes later through Faris Ramli.

Khuon repeated his feat seconds later, but two further goals from captain Shahril Ishak and Safuwan Baharudin ensured the Lions claimed their second win in a row in front of 1,989 fans.

Singapore coach Bernd Stange made only one change from the starting eleven he used against Laos the last time out, with Shahfiq Ghani replacing Sahil Suhaimi in attack.

The LionsXII forward, who spent the latter part of the season on loan at Courts Young Lions, seemed eager to impress the gaffer with an early run that was halted with some difficulty by a Cambodian defender.

Meanwhile, Safuwan forced the first save of the night on six minutes with his snapshot parried away by Cambodian keeper Sou Yati, after Amri had failed to connect with Faris’ right-wing cross.

Looking as sharp as their spanking new kit after wearing it for the first time, the Lions unsurprisingly went ahead three minutes later.

Shahril found some space on the right to whip in an inch-perfect cross for Amri to volley past Sou, making it the latter’s 23rd goal in just 89 international appearances.

The 29-year-old was buoyed by the goal and continued to be involved in most of the openings in the attacking third, but was unable to turn home a couple of headers from corners.

Failing to make those chances count, it allowed the Cambodians - ranked 24 places below Singapore in the FIFA rankings - a way back into the game.

After forcing a couple of corners, they duly grabbed a shock equaliser on 27 minutes – one that sparked the start of a five-goal rush in only 10 minutes.

From a corner on the right flank, winger Prak Mony Udom wriggled past a couple of defenders before crossing into the box for forward Khuon to head past Hassan Sunny.

The Warriors FC custodian got a touch to the header but failed to keep the effort out.

The helter-skelter pace continued as Singapore retook the lead two minutes later.

Released by Shaiful Esah, goalscorer Amri cut inside his man inside the box before teeing up Faris to lash a first-time effort low inside Yati’s near post.

It was the 22-year-old’s first-ever goal in international colours, but the joy of that feat was dampened immediately as the plucky Cambodians drew level once again.

Prak's long-range freekick somehow went all the way through a packed Singapore box to land at the feet of Khuon, who wasted little time in finishing clinically past a stranded Hassan.

It was a worrying period for the Lions, but they eventually managed to calm their nerves and scored another two in four minutes.

Shahril first reacted fastest inside the six-yard box to turn home the rebound following from Shaiful’s 25-yard free-kick coming back off the post.

Next, Safuwan followed up by crashing a left-footed strike past a rooted Sou in the Cambodia goal, after Shahdan Sulaiman’s free-kick this time was half-cleared.

The Lions took their two goal advantage into the half time break, although it might have been halved had danger man Khuon's close-range effort not been denied by the post.

After a topsy-turvy first half, fans who were expecting more of the same was left disappointed as the Cambodians soon faded away.

It was almost one-way traffic at times for the Lions although they eventually failed to make their opportunities count.

Amri continued to toil hard upfront and carved out a couple of openings inside the box, although Shahril and Shahdan were unable to convert them.

The hotshot then came off to a standing ovation before the hour mark, with Sahil Suhaimi as his replacement.

The introduction of the Courts Young Lions forward injected some much-needed urgency in the attacking third as he soon forced Sou into a save.

Effervescent winger Gabriel Quak also came on for the last 15 minutes and had two opportunities – one which was denied by Sou from close range.

As the clock ticked down, there was time for one last opportunity when Shahril’s shot was parried by the busy Cambodian keeper.

However, Sahil’s follow-up came agonisingly off the bar, and Quak was unable to turn home amidst an ensuing goalmouth scramble.

Singapore eventually had to settle for a 4-2 win, setting them up nicely for their AFF Suzuki Cup defence in five days’ time.

Singapore XI: Hassan Sunny; Ismadi Mukhtar, Baihakki Khaizan, Safuwan Baharudin (Amirul Adli 89’), Shaiful Esah (Shakir Hamzah 69’); Hariss Harun, Shahdan Sulaiman (Zulfahmi Arifin 82’); Faris Ramli, Shahril Ishak, Khairul Amri (Sahil Suhaimi 59’); Shahfiq Ghani (Gabriel Quak 76’)

Photo credit: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo