Singapore U15 2 Singapore U16 3: Captain's knock settles contest

Singapore under-16s came from behind twice, needing a last gasp penalty to beat Singapore under-15s 3-2 and clinch third place in the Lion City Cup on Sunday evening.

Captain Saifullah Akbar displayed nerves of steel, stepping up to slot home the winning goal from the penalty spot in injury time.

Singapore under-15s had been looking to cause an upset, but despite going ahead twice through Syed Akmal and Glenn Kweh, they were unable to finish their opponents off.

Two equalisers from Idraki Adnan and Nazhiim Harman kept the Singapore under-16s in the game, and Saifullah's winner ensured that there would be no need for spot-kicks to decide the result.

It had been an end-to-end game for most of the first half, with Ikhsan Fandi heavily involved after his three-goal bow against Liverpool on Friday.

The lanky striker laid down a statement of intent with a slaloming run in the 12th minute, speeding past several opponents en route to the box, but he slipped at the crucial moment as Idraki's returned ball arrived.

A Dennis Bergkamp-esque spin move a minute after almost paid dividends for Ikhsan, before he flashed a header past the right post.

However, it was the Singapore under-15s who took the lead against the run of play, after their opponents had conceded a free kick on the right flank.

Jordan Vestering's probing ball into the box looked to have been covered by goalkeeper Aaron Tang, but Syed came flying in at the near post to prod it into goal.

Ikhsan then had a goal chalked off for offside, before teammate Idraki levelled the scores for the under-16s a minute before the break.

The winger ran onto a pass from skipper Saifullah and with Ikhsan holding off the central defender, fired an unerring shot across the goalkeeper and into the net.

Tiring legs led to a much more sedate second half, as Singapore under-16s man-of-the-match Gerald Hong made his presence felt in midfield with several timely interceptions to break up play.

It was the younger boys who broke the deadlock once again though, as a moment of brilliance from Glenn Kweh unlocked the under-16s defence.

The forward burst past his marker and on to a long pass over the top, making for the touchline before cutting the ball back across the box for a late-arriving Rezza Ramadhani.

Substitute goalkeeper Nursyafiq Zaini could only parry Rezza's shot into an eager Kweh's path, as the 15-year-old gleefully stabbed home from close range.

The lead was not to last for long though, as Nazhiim Harman rose highest in the box to head home a 76th minute corner kick and once again level the scores.

That set the stage for injury-time drama, as the under-15s failed to clear their lines and were made to pay for an unfortunate handball in the box.

Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo