Jalan Besar Stadium, Friday, June 8, 2012 — Singapore scored two late goals to salvage a 2-2 draw with Malaysia in the Causeway Challenge, a home-and-away football friendly series.
Singapore, with a starting line up of 10 local-born players who are currently playing for the LionsXII, dominated but could not score. Agu Casmir had one headed chance for Singapore but Khairul Fahmi saved well.
Malaysia scored against the run of play after Safee Sali beat the offside trap and cut back for unmarked substitute Azamuddin Akil to score in the 43rd minute.
Leading 1-0 after the half-time break, Malaysia went 2-0 up in the 61st minute when captain Safiq Rahim scored direct from a free kick.
Singapore hopes were raised when when Khairul Nizam was brought down by goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi and referee Ng Kai Lam of Hong Kong awarded a free kick. However, Qiu Li’s penalty was saved by Khairul.
Then, in a controversial decision, the referee Singapore an indirect free kick within the penalty box when he took issue with how Aidil Zafuan of Malaysia celebrated the penalty save.
Shahdan Sulaiman did not miss from that distance and his shot into the top corner of the goal in the 86th minute gave the 5,985 fans something to cheer about.
With five minutes of injury time, Singapore finally found an equaliser with a stunning shot from the edge of the box by Qiu Li in the 93rd minute.
“Generally I think it was a very fair game, I don’t think my players have done anything wrong,” said Singapore head coach Raddy Avramovic. “I don’t think we were lucky to get a draw because before they scored the first goal we dominated the first half. They made clearance from goal-line and their goalkeeper made a really good save. That was two goals we should have scored from.”
Malaysia head coach K. Rajagobal said: “We knew it’s going to be a physical and tough match. My players started out slow and Singapore as usual played aerial balls into the area most of the times, we were absorbing all the attacks from Singapore.
We took the lead in the 43rd minute after I made a change because I knew we needed penetration from the flanks. We came into the second half building up from where we left off and the boys played well and we got a second goal with a beautiful freekick. I think I’m happy, we should have deserved to win the match however.”
The Lions will face Malaysia at the Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, June 12th, for the second leg of the Causeway Challenge.
Izwan Mahbud (GK), Safuwan Bahrudin, Shaiful Esah (Qiu Li 46′), Isa Halim (Fahrudin Mustafic 46′), Baihakki Khaizan (C), Shahdan Sulaiman, Agu Casmir (Khairul Nizam 70′), Yasir Hanapi (Shi Jiayi 46′), Hariss Harun, Irwan Shah (Daniel Bennett 46′), Shakir Hamzah (Safirul Sulaiman 75′)
Unused subs: Firdaus Kasman, Raihan Rahman, Hyrulnizam Juma’at, Poh Yi Feng, Delwinder Singh, AHmed Fahmie, Joey Sim
Khairul Fahmi(GK), Bunyamin Umar, Aidil Zafuan, Safiq Rahim (C), Norshahrul Idlan (Ahmad Shakir 73′), Safee Sali (Amar Rohidan 81′), Azmi Muslim (Mahalli Jasuli 70′), K Gurusamy, S Kunanlan (S Chanthuru 78′), Shahurain Abu Samah (Azazmuddin Akil 34′), Fadhli Shas
Unused subs: Farizal Marlias, Sabre Mat Abu, S Subramaniam, Amirizdwan Tajudin, SHakir Shaari, Mohd Faizal, Ashari Samsudin, Sharbinee Allawee.