Holders Singapore scrape draw with Vietnam

HANOI - Singapore survived an endless stream of attacks to draw 0-0 with Vietnam in the first leg of their Southeast Asian championship semi-final on Wednesday.

The holders were on the back foot throughout as the home side, spurred on by a capacity crowd, pounded the nervy Singapore defence in search of a first final place in 10 years.

Striker Nguyen Viet Thang hit the post on 19 minutes with only goalkeeper Lionel Lewis to beat and then went just wide after an almost identical move.

Van Tai Em Phan had a header saved by Lewis who was again called into action nine minutes after the break, spectacularly tipping Nguyen Vu Phong's free kick over the bar.

Singapore, one of the region's strongest teams, had a goal disallowed for offside in the 72nd minute from their only real chance.

"This was our worst game so far, we didn't create any chances," Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic told reporters. "Vietnam were exceptional and we were very lucky."