Asian Cup Qualifiers: Lions lose to Taiwan
|Hariss Harun (6')||
Xavier Chen (30')
The Lions missed out on a great chance to move top of their Asian Cup qualifying group, after they lost 2-1 to Taiwan at the Jalan Besar Stadium tonight.
Singapore coach V Sundramoorthy and his players have only themselves to blame after taking an early lead but failing to either build on it or simply to keep it.
Instead, after Hariss Harun headed in Shahdan Sulaiman's corner in the sixth minute, the Republic seemingly invited the visitors to attack them, a challenge the Taiwanese readily accepted.
Hassan Sunny was already called upon to pull off a stunning one-handed save from Yaki Yen in the 26th minute, but the Lions failed to heed the warning.
Four minutes later, Chen Hao-wei fired a free-kick straight at the Singapore wall, and right back Xavier Chen, who plays for Belgian top-tier side Mechelen, lashed in the equaliser resulting loose ball from 25 metres.
It was to get worse for the hosts after the break, as they could not clear Chen Po-liang's cross on the hour mark, leaving Chen Chao-an to nod into an open goal.
Second-half substitute Hafiz Sujad then squandered the best chance to make it 2-2, when he shot straight at Chiu Yu-hung after Safuwan Baharudin had knocked down Shakir Hamzah's cross in the 69th minute.
While they drew 0-0 at Bahrain in March, this latest defeat leaves Singapore bottom of Group E, with Turkmenistan leading on goal difference with three points. Taiwan are second also with three points, while Bahrain are third with one point.
Turkmenistan and Bahrain will play their second qualifier on Tuesday while Singapore host Turkmenistan on Sept 5.
SINGAPORE: Hassan Sunny, Madhu Mohana, Irfan Fandi, Daniel Bennett, Shakir Hamzah, Shahdan Sulaiman (Nazrul Nazari 75), Yasir Hanapi (Khairul Nizam 79), Hariss Harun, Izzdin Shafiq, Faris Ramli (Hafiz Sujad 50), Safuwan Baharudin
TAIWAN: Chiu Yu-hung, Xavier Chen, Tavio Yen, Chen Yi-wei, Chen Ting-yang, Hung Tzu-kuei, Chen Chao-an (Wu Chun-ching 73), Wen Chih-hao, Chen Po-liang, Chen Hao-wei (Li Mao 90), Chu En-le
TNP Man of the Match: Xavier Chen (Taiwan)