Singapore 2-0 India: Lions victorious against the Blue Tigers

     By Khalis Rifhan

India started off well in the game but they soon ran out of ideas and stamina as the hosts recorded an impressive victory against the South Asian nation.

India looked threatening from the first whistle as they made full use of their lively winger Clifford Miranda down the left, creating a fierce battle with the host's right back, Juma’at Jantan.

Clifford was supported by the creative Sanju Pradhan in the centre of midfield, combining well to supply the ammunition to Francisco Fernandes and captain Sunil Chhetri upfront.

The home side were let off the hook early in the game as stand-in captain Baihakki Khaizan uncharacteristically lost the ball to Clifford in his own half.

The Indian winger sent the ball across goal but fortunately for the Lions, Sanju was unable to get onto the end of the ball in the six yard box.

India dominated the game in the first fifteen minutes and Singapore was left with the occasional counter through the middle but the visitors' defence led by Gouramangi Singh was proving a tough nut to crack.

Things seemed to be heading in the wrong direction for the Lions as Shi Jiayi went down injured midway through the first half and had to be replaced by Khairul Amri.

It proved to be the turning point of the game as within minutes, the substitute made an impact on the game, scoring the opener three minutes before the end of the half. 

A poor clearance by the Blue Tigers defence was knocked back onto the path of the LionsXII striker who coolly slammed the ball beyond the helpless Subrata Paul.

The home side doubled their tally four minutes after the break as Mustafic Fahrudin turned provider for SAFFC’s hitman Fazrul Nawaz.

Syed Nabi was left chasing Mustafic down the left and was not able to stop the Tampines Rovers midfielder from launching a perfect low cross that eluded the entire India defence and Fazrul needed no invitation side-footing the ball to the top corner.

It could have been three goals for the host in injury time after Firdaus unleashed a stinging shot from twenty five yards which was parried away by Subrata. Fazli Ayob missed the target from the middle of the box after the ball fell perfectly to him.

The hosts then took a step back and allowed India to come forward but the visitors could not conjure up anything. Singapore came away 2-0 winners as they continued their preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup.

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