Singapore throw away Nations Cup third

The young Lions went two up against Vietnam in Malacca but finished with a wooden spoon after losing the shootout 5-4.

Vietnam under-21 came from two goals behind to defeat Singapore under-21 in the Nations Cup 3rd-4th placing tie on penalties at Hang Jebat Stadium on Sunday.

Captain Ammirul Emmran Mazlan and Shahrin Saberin saw their efforts saved in the shoot out as the teams were tied neck and neck until the sixth round of kicks.

Singapore coach Richard Tardy made two changes to the line-up that lost to Malaysia on Friday – including naming Hairul Syirhan Mardan in goal after Zharfan Rohaizad cost the team two goals on Friday – but his team was second best for most parts.

"A draw after 90 minutes was logical. Vietnam were good," said Tardy.

"We fought to stay ahead but we made mistakes... the free-kick we had that lead to Vietnam's equaliser should be have dealt better.

"Remember the France versus Bulgaria game in 1993 when the French's search for a goal instead of keeping the ball near the corner flag to let time run backfired; it was the same for us.

"I don't want to blame the players ... we must play more games like this to get to a good level. The technical ability of some were not good. We can't play any system if we can't keep the ball."

The changes did little to improve Lions’ play as compared to their loss to Malaysia and the Vietnamese, who changed six in their starting XI, took charge of the game.

The Singaporeans, however, got a break minutes before the half-time whistle after Adam Swandli flicked in Muhaimin Suhaimi’s cross. Tardy’s men come out stronger in the second-half and got their second just six minutes into the half with Hazim Faiz Hassan’s spot-kick.

Hoang Anh Tuan made an immediately change, bringing on Nguyen Quang Hai for Truong Van Thai Quy, and the winger added more precision to Vietnam’s play in the final third.

Centre-back Huynh Tan Sinh scored from the spot after Adam brought down Ho Tan Tai in the 55th minute and their search for the equaliser was proving to be futile until Ha Duc Chinh squeezed the ball in stoppage time.

"I knew we will be back in the game so I told my players to throw everything we've got at Singapore, who, I noticed had their fitness down," said Anh Tuan.

"I am happy with how we played although we left it till late. We were stronger and after the equaliser, I wanted my players to wrap it up instead of going to penalties."