Young Lions' s-final hopes hanging by a thread after loss to Indonesia
Singapore's miserable record against Indonesia in the SEA Games football tournament continued last night as the Young Lions went down 2-0 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
The Republic have not beaten the Indonesians since the third-place play-off at the 1993 Games - before the tournament became an age-group competition in 2001.
Having failed to score for the second match running, the Young Lions' semi-final hopes are now hanging by a thread, with three-time defending champions Thailand and Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup winners Vietnam lying in wait for Fandi Ahmad's men in their next two matches.
The two countries scored 13 goals between them yesterday.
Fandi admitted Indonesia were the better team in terms of speed and technique as arguably Singapore's greatest striker lamented his nation's inability to produce goalscorers.
He said: "I thought their individuals killed us today with their speed.
"Tactically, we were very sound in the first half (and) until nearly the 70th minute. They broke us (down) through individual brilliance, individual technical skills... I think maybe they can reach the final...
"For us, it will be a mountain to climb because we will have to win the last three games.
"We have maybe one or two strikers. The rest of the countries have five, six, seven strikers...
"Indonesia are better than us, that's a fact.
"We changed some players from the first game because Ryhan (Stewart) works very hard, but sometimes football intelligence is important, technical ability is important...
"I think we don't have much talent in Singapore...
"Our players are mainly part-time students and (full-time national servicemen), we can't ask for more... We have to wait till six or seven o'clock in the evening to train every day."
Singapore's first shot on target - indeed, the only one from either team in the first half - came via a 17th-minute Lionel Tan free-kick which goalkeeper Nadeo Argawinata tipped over.
However, Indonesia came to life in the second half to put the Young Lions to the sword.
They opened the scoring on 64 minutes after Singapore captain Irfan Fandi misjudged a long ball, with substitute Osvaldo Haay capitalising to put the ball through goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad's legs .
Ten minutes later, it was all over as Haay teed up marauding right-back Asnawi Bahar.
Singapore's best chance came on 82 minutes as Irfan's header and Hami Syahin's ensuing shot both hit the post.
Frustration ensued in added time as both sides squared off, with Haay and Shah Shahiran both earning cautions.