Singapore find scoring touch in final match against Brunei
Singapore ended their dismal SEA Games football campaign on a high yesterday with a 7-0 win over Brunei at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
The Young Lions had failed to score in their four previous Group B matches, which ended in three defeats and a draw.
Bottom-placed Brunei had conceded 24 goals in their four previous matches, and the Young Lions compounded their misery by making it 31.
Brunei restricted Singapore to just an Irfan Fandi goal at half-time, but the floodgates opened after Hanif Farhan Azman was sent off in the 49th minute.
The Young Lions' second-half blitz came courtesy of an Ikhsan Fandi hat-trick, a Faris Ramli brace and a Saifullah Akbar strike.
In truth, it could have been far worse for Brunei as Singapore hit the posts thrice, had two shots cleared off the line and missed a glut of chances.
Said coach Fandi Ahmad: "Quite a relief for us because we've been struggling to score goals...
"I thought we played quite well, but we missed chances.
"I can see the nervousness in our play because sometimes they are too eager to score and then get frustrated... Faris should have scored a double hat-trick...
"We have been at a higher level throughout this year, it's only this SEA Games (where) I don't know what happened.
"We played very well sometimes. We were inconsistent...
"The luck wasn't at all on our side. Whether we played good or bad, we hit the post and the bar a few times (in different games) here.
"We've played better teams like North Korea (1-1 in the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers)... we played against other strong teams, and we rose to the occasion.
"This is a habit of our local players, when we play lower teams we go down to (their level). We did the same in the beginning (against Brunei).
"After leading 1-0, we start missing and the confidence went down tremendously."
In yesterday's other matches, three-time defending champions Thailand failed to make the semi-finals after drawing 2-2 with 2018 AFC Under-23 runners-up Vietnam.
Indonesia joined the Group B winners in the last four with a 4-0 triumph over Laos.
In tomorrow's semi-finals, Indonesia will take on Myanmar while Vietnam face Cambodia.