Singapore suffer embarrassing defeat to 10-man Cambodia

Singapore coach V. Sundramoorthy may not have had his best players available, but surely no one expected the Lions to suffer a loss against the lowly-ranked Cambodians? 

Singapore suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Cambodia on Thursday night despite having numerical advantage for the best part of 20 minutes.

Cambodia had taken the lead through Chan Vathanaka in the 19th minute before Khairul Amri equalised four minutes later.

The game was then settled by Tit Dina just before the break, although Cambodia had to play out the last 15 minutes with 10 men after Hong Pheng received his second yellow of the game.

The defeat will come as a surprise to many, given that Cambodia are ranked 180th in the world, while Singapore are 158th.

Singapore started the game with Amri skippering the squad while Abdil Qaiyyim was given his debut in defence.

It took only 11 minutes for the Lions to get their first shot on target as Zulfahmi Arifin’s corner was punched by Sou Yati towards Amri but the striker’s header was cleared off the line.

The visitors came close again six minutes later as Hafiz Sujad’s intended cross swerved towards goal and Yati had to palm it away.

The deadlock was broken in spectacular manner in the 19th minute, after Shakir Hamzah took Sos Suhana out with a cynical foul at the edge of the box. Vathanaka duly stepped up and he sent a brilliant free-kick over Izwan Mahbud.

The lead lasted all of four minutes as Amri met Izzdin’s cross from deep and his header lobbed over Yati.

Cambodia then nearly conceded in disastrous manner as Yati nearly fumbled Zulfahmi’s free-kick into his own goal before recovering the ball quickly.

Just as half-time beckoned, Cambodia took the lead again after Dina ran onto Vathanaka’s cut-back and managed to stab home from close range.

It seems the absence of several regulars like Hariss was too much for the Lions

The Lions came out fighting after the break and were unlucky to hit the woodwork twice.

Fazrul Nawaz found space in the box after Cambodia failed to clear their lines but he cracked the post instead in the 48th minute.

Moments later, Zulfahmi suffered the same fate as his free-kick from just outside the box came off the bar.

At the other end, Izwan had to be alert to tip away Dina’s rasping drive as Cambodia played on the counter.

The hosts were placed under more pressure in the 75th minute, when Pheng hacked Shakir Hamzah down and saw red after receiving his second yellow card of the game.

Singapore plied the pressure on Cambodia but even with six minutes of additional time, they were unable to pull a goal back.

Main Photo: FAS