Lions come from behind to register first win of the year
After an early scare, Fazrul and Amri strike for Lions to post first victory of the year
(Nasir Uddin Chow 4)
(Fazrul Nawaz 31, Khairul Amri 72)
Even as Singapore football tries to rebuild, it was left to a pair of 30-year-olds to rescue the Lions from another disappointing result against lower-ranked opposition last night in a friendly in Dhaka.
S.League's top local scorer Fazrul Nawaz and in-form Singapore striker Khairul Amri fired in the goals to seal a come-from-behind win after Nasir Uddin Chow had given world No. 169 Bangladesh, seven spots below Singapore, a shock fourth-minute lead by heading in an indirect free-kick.
Fazrul, who has scored eight goals for S.League side Warriors FC this season, pounced on a loose ball that came off the post to equalise just after the half-hour mark, before LionsXII ace Amri saved the visitors' blushes by scoring a 72nd-minute winner - his 26th international goal in 95 caps - from outside the box after Bangladesh failed to clear a corner.
There was another milestone as national skipper Shahril Ishak equalled Daniel Bennett's record of 122 caps after coming on as a second-half substitute for Hariss Harun.
This victory is Singapore's first of the year, following a 2-0 away defeat by Thailand and a 2-2 home draw with Guam.
National coach Bernd Stange told The New Paper: "We are all in the results business. It is very important to achieve a result, as our last win was back in November.
"It was not an easy match because it was unbelievably hot (temperatures reached 34 deg C) and the bumpy pitch did not allow us to play combination football and we had to play more long balls.
"We were shocked by the early goal, but we showed great team spirit to fight back and win."
The Lions will next play world No. 182 Brunei at the Jurong West Stadium this Saturday, before kicking off their World Cup qualifying campaign against Cambodia at Phnom Penh on June 11, and then taking on Japan in Saitama on June 16.
Stange added that the Lions will try their best to cope with the absence of top under-23 players Faris Ramli and Sahil Suhaimi, who are playing in the South-east Asia Games instead of the World Cup qualifiers.
"We will use the upcoming days to get ourselves as ready as possible," said the 67-year-old.
"If we want to achieve something from these qualifiers, beating Cambodia in our first match is a must."
Afghanistan and Syria are the other two teams in Singapore's qualifying group.
SINGAPORE: Hassan Sunny, Ismadi Mukhtar (Nazrul Ahmad Nazari 80), Madhu Mohana (Baihakki Khaizan 45), Safuwan Baharudin, Shaiful Esah (Zulfadli Zainal Abidin 46), Fazrul Nawaz (Gabriel Quak 85), Izzdin Shafiq, Hariss Harun (Shahril Ishak 60), Zulfahmi Arifin, Hafiz Abu Sujad, Khairul Amri (Khairul Nizam 73)