Singapore lose 2-0 to Thailand in final AFF Suzuki Cup group match
The Lions also lost Shakir Hamzah, who has been a key player so far, to a potentially serious knee injury in the match.
Singapore fell to their first defeat in the AFF Suzuki Cup in the final group stage match against Thailand by two goals to nil on Saturday (Dec 18).
The result meant that the Lions will finish Group A in second spot, and face the winner of Group B in the semi-finals.
The Lions may feel hard done by, considering that both teams had a similar number of shots on goal. Ultimately, they will rue the two mistakes that allowed the War Elephants to take the victory.
A loose ball in the midfield that allowed Thailand to launch a counter and win a free-kick that led to the opener in the 31st minute. While goalkeeper Hassan Sunny did his best to tip Bordin Phala’s attempt onto the post, the Lions were slow to react and allowed Elias Dolah to convert the rebound.
The goal gave the five-time Suzuki Cup champions a boost and Singapore, who had been on top, were unable to cope.
Thailand scored their second in the 45th minute, again after winning possession from inside Singapore’s half. The Lions once again did not react quick enough and Supachai Chaided made no mistakes with his finish after being played through.
Singapore could have found themselves down by three goals in the second half, but Hassan pulled off several superb saves. At the other end, Safuwan Baharudin and Shawal Anuar proved wasteful with the chances they had.
The biggest miss of the night for Singapore came from Irfan Fandi in the 74th minute, after Thailand failed to clear their lines from a corner. With the goal gaping wide and no one near him, Irfan sliced his shot wide from just outside the six-yard box.
Despite the defeat, the bigger concern for the Lions will be the injury Shakir Hamzah suffered early in the game. The left-back appeared to injure his knee after a heavy challenge from Tristan Do, and had to be stretchered off the pitch after receiving prolonged treatment.
Shakir has been one of the brightest sparks in the tournament and Singapore clearly missed his presence down the left flank against Thailand.
Singapore will find out their opponents for the semi-final on Sunday, when the final round of Group B matches take place. Indonesia and Malaysia will battle out for a spot in the semi-final, while Vietnam will look to add onto their goal difference when they take on Cambodia.