SINGAPORE – There was late drama at the National Stadium as Singapore opened their Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup title defense with a 2-1 loss to Thailand at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium this evening (Nov 23).
The Lions initially struggled to control the bounce of the ball in the opening minutes, perhaps unaccustomed to the pitch, on which they have not trained before.
Thailand took the lead off the first real attempt on goal, with Mongkol Thosakrai slamming a low cross from Prakit Deeprom high into the net in the eighth minute.
But Khairul Amri equalised for the Lions just 12 minutes later, ghosting into the penalty box unmarked to nod home an inch-perfect cross from Shaiful Esah from the left.
Defenders Baihakki Khaizan and Shaiful Esah were replaced by Zulfahmi Arifin and Shakir Hamzah respectively in the second half, while Sahil Suhaimi was stretchered off and replaced by Gabriel Quak.
Amri, captain Shahril Ishak and Faris Ramli came close to scoring in the second period, but their misses were punished by the Thais in the 89th minute when Charyl Yannic Chappuis scored from the spot after Safuwan Baharudin had handled the ball in the box.
With the result, Singapore are bottom in Group B, with the earlier match between Malaysia and Myanmar ending in a goalless draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium.