Nike Match Report: Singapore 4-3 Laos

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After some initial scares, it was eventually Singapore who prevailed 4-3 as they finished top of Group B and safely made it through to the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Laos were dealt an early blow when goalkeeper Sengphachan Bounthisanh was injured in a studs-up clash with Singapore forward Fazrul Nawaz five minutes into the game. Soukthavy Soundala replaced him.

It was a scruffy start to the game for the Lions with Laos showing more urgency and threatening initially with Kampheng Sayavuthi's shot going straight into Izwan Mahbud's gloves on 15 minutes.

They soon paid the price at the back six minutes later. The whole Singapore backline fell to sleep as Keoviengpheth Lithideth slipped the ball through for Soukaphone Vongchiengkham, who in turn squared the ball across for Kampheng to slot easily past Izwan inside the six-yard box.

Singapore tried to regroup and missed a gilt-edged opportunity on 35 minutes, with Qiu Li knocking down a long ball for Aleksandar Duric who was just lurking in front of the goalline. The 42-year-old ended up in the back of the net while his headed effort trickled wide of the post.

He would have rued his miss just four minutes later as his side's defence opened up charitably again. A great reverse ball from Sopha Saysana spilt the Lions defence, as Keoviengpheth surged forward, cut inside Daniel Benett and rifled into the top right corner past a helpless Izwan.

That goal spurred the Lions to push forward with Safuwan Baharudin having a long-range try tipped wide by Soukthavy while Baihakki headed over from a Shi Jiayi's corner.

Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic soon brought on Shaiful Esah and Khairul Amri, and they finally breached Laos two minutes into injury time.

Safuwan knocked down a Mustafic Fahrudin long ball, with captain Shahril Ishak the beneficiary as he tapped home into a empty net on his 100th appearance for the Lions.

The second half saw the Lions taking the game to their opponents and they finally yielded their rewards 8 minutes in.

Duric knocked down a Shi Jiayi ball into the path of Shahril, who checked onto his weaker left foot and slotted coolly past Soukthavy.

That goal was enough to put the Lions through but credit to them, they kept pushing on for more and duly did it - twice in two minutes.

A freekick was awarded for Singapore about 25 yards from the Laos goal, and Amri took responsibility of the deadball and duly curled a masterpiece of an effort past a fully stretched Soukthavy in the Laos goal.

Amri was involved again two minutes later, setting up Shaiful Esah to whip in a superb ball for a diving Fazrul to nod it firmly past Soukthavy - putting the icing on the Lions' cake.

Duric and Amri had further chances to breach the Laos net but did not capitalize, and that nearly paved the way for Laos to get back into the game.

Ketsada Souksavanh was adjudged to have brought down by Safuwan inside the box, and Khampeng stepped up and sent Izwan the wrong way for his second goal of the game.

There was still nine minutes of regulation time left but the Lions managed to hold the brave Laotians off to continue their dream to clinch their fourth AFF Suzuki Cup title

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