Singapore-U23 1 Japan-U22 8

The Singapore Under-23s, led by Aide Iskandar, were comprehensively beaten by the Japan Under-22s in an international friendly at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday evening. 

Five goals from the Japanese in the first 45 minutes set the tone for the result, before substitutes Takuma Arano and Sei Muroya added further goals in the second half.

Irfan Fandi pulled a goal back for the home side, but Arano scored his second to seal the result for Makoto Teguramori’s side, who are gearing up for the 2016 AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers in March.

The Singaporeans did start the game in decent fashion as they earned a free kick just outside the opposition’s penalty area on six minutes.

However, Sahil scuffed his shot under pressure after Shahfiq Ghani had teed him up.

They lived to rue that miss as the visitors broke the deadlock just four minutes later.

A long ball from Haruya Ide caught out Amirul Adli in the Singapore penalty area and forward Shoya Nakajima capitalized by slamming home emphatically with his first touch past Syazwan Buhari.

Syazwan then had to deny Musashi Suzuki’s close-range effort with his legs, before full-back Ken Matsubara  produced a snapshot from outside the area that smacked off the post.

However, the Japanese’s incessant pressure paid off on 21 minutes as Nakajima received Yuta Toyokawa’s slide-rule pass before finishing clinically past Syazwan for his second goal of the night.

The goals kept coming as they went three up on 34 minutes, with Suzuki tapping home at the back post after Masashi Kamekawa’s shot inadvertently found its way into his path.

Supplier of the first goal, Ide, then turned scorer nine minutes later as he leaped like a salmon to nod home Toyokawa’s left-wing cross.

Midfielder Ryota Ohshima then lashed home a superb effort from 25 yards to put the Japanese 5-0 up at the break.

Singapore U23 coach Aide reacted by bringing on exciting talents Suria Prakash and Irfan Fandi after the break. 

Nevertheless, it was to no avail.

The visitors added a sixth goal within 11 minutes of the restart with substitute Arano producing a near-post finish after left-back Kamekawa had squared the ball across goal.

Muroya then slammed home from a tight angle on 77 minutes, after receiving Nakajima’s through ball, to put them into seven up.

Irfan, son of famous Singapore footballing son Fandi Ahmad, then gave the home crowd something to cheer about by bundling home Safirul Sulaiman’s freekick two minutes later.

However, it was the young Blue Samurais who had the last laugh six minutes before the end as Arano received Muroya’s pass before cheekily lobbing over the reach of the hapless Syazwan.

Picture courtesy of Weixiang Lim