Jurong West Stadium, Friday, September 8, 2012 — Singapore suffered a setback in their preparations for the ASEAN Football Championship (ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup) when they went down 0-2 to Philippines in a friendly. It was Singapore’s first loss to the Philippines since 1972.
That year, the Philippines beat Singapore 2-0, and since then, Singapore has won eight times and the two countries drew one encounter.
Injuries ruled out Aleksandar Duric, Khairul Amri, Juma’at Jantan and Isa Halim for Singapore.
The Lions almost scored two minutes in when a superb through ball by Shahril Ishak found midfielder Shi Jiayi through on goal. However, Philippines’ custodian Neil Etheridge, plying his trade in the English Premier League for Fulham, pulled off a good save to deny Jiayi.
The Azkals then took the lead six minutes later, with Emelio Caligdong breaking the deadlock after his shot went found the back of the net with a slight deflection off Jufri Taha.
They then doubled the lead three minutes into the second half, after a through pass from midfielder Stephan Schrock found Philip Younghusband, and the Loyola Meralco Sparks striker placed his shot into the bottom corner.
Despite being down 2-0, the Lions still managed to dominate possession, with substitutes Agu Casmir, Safirul Sulaiman and Shahfiq Ghani causing problems for the Philippines backline.
It was not meant to be though, as the Azkals held on dearly to their lead till the final whistle.
Speaking at the post match press conference, Philippines head coach Michael Weiss felt that his side deserved the win.
“It was a very satisfying performance from the team. We dominated the game, but should have played the counter more smartly and we could have scored more. It is a massive win for us and gives us a lot of confidence,” said Weiss.
“Singapore played okay, although the final passes were missing. They moved the ball around quite a bit, but the pitch was not ideal for their kind of game. I have to praise our defence too, they worked very well and prevent them (Singapore) from getting clear chances,” added Weiss.
“In some ways I am disappointed with the loss but I cannot fault my players. They gave their best and tried to play, especially in the first 45 minutes I was very happy with them,” said Singapore head coach, Radojko Avramovic.
“We just need to practice more together and for this game, we did not have the opportunity to do that. Some players were coming back from injuries while some were still injured, but those young players who came in they showed their quality,” added Avramovic.
Singapore will next play Myanmar away in another friendly on Tuesday, September 11th.
Singapore 0 Philippines 2
Official Attendance: 2,956
Singapore Starting Lineup
Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Baihakki Khaizan, Jufri Taha, Hariss Harun (Safuwan Baharudin 59’), Daniel Bennett (Shaiful Esah 87’); Shi Jiayi (Nazrul Nazari 62’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Mustafic Fahrudin, Shahril Ishak (C) (Shahfiq Ghani 74’), Qiu Li (Safirul Sulaiman 68’) Fazrul Nawaz (Agu Casmir 46’).
Philippines Starting Lineup
Neil Etheridge (GK), Robert Gier, Jason Sabio, James Younghusband (Patrick Reichelt 61’), Philip Younghusband (Denis Wolf 64’), Emelio Caligdong (C) (Misagh Bahadoran 68’), Carlos De Murga (Jason De Jong 90’), Stephan Schrock, Jerry Lucena, Paul Mulders, Jeffrey Chirstiaens.