Guangzhou, Thursday, November 11, 2010 — Singapore were thrashed 4-1 by India this evening and will take no further part in the Asian Games Under-23 football competition.
Substitute Eugene Luo scored Singapore’s only goal in the 82nd minute when the Indian goalkeeper spilled a Shahdan Sulaiman free kick.
“It was a tough day. India had aggression and were organised. They converted their chances and they took the points. We started off quite well and conceded from the free kick. Knowing that we only had 45 minutes to save ourselves in this competition, we came out fighting after the break,” said Singapore head coach V. Sundramoorthy.
With captain Hariss Harun playing in defense to shore up a team depleted by suspensions, the Young Lions had to win to stay in contention for a Round of 16 place.
However, they were undone as early as the 13th minute when a poor defensive wall set up by goalkeeper Siddiq Durimi allowed Sheik Jewel Raja to score the opening goal for India.
The best chance to equalise in the first half then fell to Shahril Ishak but the senior squad member inexplicably did not shoot despite having ball possession inside the six-yard box.
With Hariss Harun limping off with an injury at half-time, Singapore were dealt a psychological blow in the second half when goalkeeper Siddiq made a bad error that gifted India their second goal.
The backpedalling Siddiq was spotted outside his box by Balwant Singh and the Indian striker hit the back of the net from almost the half-way line to make it 2-0 early in the second half.
With no choice but to go forward, Singapore left gaps at the back which India exploited and it was no surprise that the Young Lions conceded their third. A flowing Indian move ended with Jibon Singh scoring the third goal through the legs of keeper Siddiq in the 66th minute.
The fourth Indian goal then came in the 74th minute when Maithani Manish thundered home a shot after Singapore’s Afiq Yunos missed a clearing header completely in the penalty box.
Then came Eugene Luo’s consolation goal which at least meant the Young Lions would not end their Asian Games without even a goal.
“We did not turn up for the match today. We tried what we could to get the result against India because it was important for us. But unfortunately it was not enough,” said captain Hariss. “We tried really hard to push forward and try and score. We just could not find a way to goal and India did, which is why they got the points.”
Qatar beat Kuwait 2-0 in another Group D game tonight to top the group. Both teams qualify for the Round of 16 while India should qualify as one of the best four third-placed teams.
Group D Results
Qatar 2 Kuwait 0
India 4 Singapore 1
Kuwait 2 Singapore 0
Qatar 2 India 1
Qatar 0 Singapore 0
India 0 Kuwait 2
Asian Games Football - Group D