Sunday, October 25, 2009


Singapore triumph in HCMC

HO CHI MINH CITY, 24 October 2009: A 2-2 draw with hosts and Asean champions Vietnam was enough for Singapore to emerge victorious in the Ho Chi Minh International Tournament.
Shahril Ishak captained the country for the first time on his 71st appearance in the absence of the suspended Noh Rahman. With two wins under the Lions' belts, they only needed a draw to win the tournament outright following Vietnam's 2-0 defeat to the Korean University Selection Team on Matchday 2.
The hosts were to draw first blood after 18 minutes when Nguyen Quang Hai was put through and he confidently lifted his effort beyond Lionel Lewis.
The lead was to last barely eight minutes. Aleksandar Duric's scored his third goal of the tournament when he reacted fastest to Rosman Sulaiman's low hard cross into the box to toe-poke home from close range. It was his eighth goal for the Lions in 18 appearances.
Duric should have made it 2-1 seconds after the break but he sent substitute Fazrul Nawaz's tentalising centre over the bar from just in front of goal.
Five minutes later, Fazrul would then capitalise on a good spell for Singapore to give the Lions the lead when he reacted fastest to smash the ball into the far corner from outside the box with his weaker left foot.
Just when it seemed Singapore would cruise to victory, that was denied when goalkeeper Lionel Lewis conceded a penalty six minutes from time.
Vu Nhu Thanh smashed home the spot kick and despite some frantic pressure from the home side, Singapore were well worth the point, the US$20,000 prize and another piece of silverware for the trophy cabinet.
Duric was also named the Man-of-the-Match and Player of the Tournament.

Ho Chi Minh City International Tournament
Vietnam 2
(Nguyen Quang Hai 17', Vu Nhu Thanh pen 85')
(Aleksandar Duric 26’, Fazrul Nawaz 51')
Thong Nhat Stadium
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Singapore: Lionel Lewis (gk), Rosman Sulaiman, Precious Emeujeraye, Daniel Bennett, Shaiful Esah (Juma'at Jantan 69'), Itimi Dickson (Fazrul Nawaz 18'), Hariss Harun, John Wilkinson, Shahril Ishak (captain)(Isa Halim 86'), Khairul Amri (Tengku Mushadad 75') and Aleksandar Duric
Quotes from Coach Radojko Avramovic:
- On positives from the tournament...
It was good to see us continue with our winning mentality. We went into the game against the hosts with the intention of scoring goals and we achieved our result.
Overall, it was important that we are together after a long time. Despite very little training time, we had this competition and our players have done much better than expected. They have all played to their best.
- On taking our chances
It is encouraging to see us trying to score goals. When we create chances, we will always score. At least we are creating (chances), as this will pay off in future games.
- On Khairul Amri's progress
Amri is still short of competition form and far from his best. He should do better as he is capable of being much better.
- On looking forward to the crucial qualifiers against Thailand
I'll see what players we have available and assess the situation from there before preparing our team to win those games. We have a few injury concerns. First Agu was injured and today both Itimi (Dickson) and Shaiful (Esah) picked up muscle injuries. We also have the other players who are not here joining us.

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