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27th SEA Games: Singapore suffers 1-0 defeat to Thailand in semi-finals

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Head Coach Aide Iskandar (right) says Thailand were the hungrier side of the two teams and deserved to win the semi-final (photo by John Yeong/SSC).

Zeyar Thiri Stadium, Thursday, December 19 2013 – A goal from the penalty spot by Thai #15 Praweenwat Boon Yong in the 24th minute was enough to break the hearts of the young Singaporeans, who have not qualified for the finals of the SEA Games football tournament since 1989.

Singapore, who came into the match unbeaten from four group games, came close to scoring in the 3rd minute of play but Singapore’s #8, Hafiz Sujad, fluffed his chance when it came one on one encounter against the Thai keeper, Kawin Thamsatchanan.

Thailand, too, had their chances in front of the Singapore goal but somehow, they were not their usually sharp selves. It took them fourteen minutes before they had their first real shot on target, at the Singapore goal but not before gaining a yellow card, because of a harsh tackle on Hariss Harun in the 5th minute.

Singapore tried their best to recover after the break, with some occasional flashes of brilliance but it proved to be too little, too late as they fruitlessly looked for the elusive equalizer.

With striker Shahfiq Ghani substituted in the 64th minute, it seemed that Coach Aide Iskandar opted to consolidate the ranks of his midfield, with the hope that such a move would win most of the balls, in the middle of the park but Singapore was just not able to convert their chances.

“We lost concentration and conceded a penalty but overall, I think we gave Thailand a good fight. Thailand were hungrier and deserved to win,” quipped Coach Aide, at the post match press conference.

The Young Lions will now have to settle for the bronze medal playoff on Saturday, against causeway rivals Malaysia, who also lost their own semi-final match against Indonesia, via a penalty shootout, 3-4, after both sides were level with one a piece, after 120 minutes. The match for 3rd/4th placing will be played at 1600 hours at the Zeyar Thiri Stadium on Saturday, 21st December 2013.

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