Team Singapore's Sheikh Abdul Hadi Sh Othman (C) celebrates scoring his side's first goal (Photo Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images via Reuters)
Singapore's footballers, making their first appearance at the 28th SEA Games on Monday, capped a magical day for the host-nation with a 1-0 win over the Philippines.
Playing in front of a loud and excited crowd at Jalan Besar Stadium, the Young Lions made the perfect start to their campaign with a hard-fought but important win in their opening Group A match.
Singapore defender Sheikh Abdul Hadi scored the only goal of the match in the final minute of the first half, climbing above the defence to head the ball into the net off a free kick from the left-footed Safirul Sulaiman.
Singapore created several more chances but were unable to score again, undone by a combination of good defending from the Philippines and some inaccurate shooting in front of goal.
One of Singapore's best chances in the second half came when the impressive teenager Irfan Fandi, the son of Singaporean football legend Fandi Ahmad, flicked the ball into Sahil Suhaimi, who chested the ball down outside the six-yard but missed with his shot.
The Philippines spent most of the night on the back foot but still managed to threaten the home team on the counterattack, with defender Francisco Santos slicing his way through the defence and forcing Singapore goalkeeper Syazwan Buhar into making a sharp save.
Team Singapore's Feng Tianwei (L) and Yu Mengyu in action in the Women's Doubles Quarterfinals (Photo Credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images via Reuters)
Earlier in the day, Singapore saw both the men’s and women’s Table Tennis teams through to the semi-finals in the men's and women's doubles events at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
In the men's competition, Gao Ning and Li Hu, who teamed up to win the bronze medal at last year's Asian Games, advanced, as did Clarence Chew and Chen Feng. If both pairings wins, they will meet in the gold medal match.
In the women's doubles, Singapore's Olympic medallist Feng Tianwei joined forces with Yu Mengyu to reach the semi-finals.
Another Singaporean pairing, Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan, also made it through to semi finals on 2 June.
In the sport of netball, Singapore's netballers won their second match in a row, defeating Thailand 65-24 at the OCBC Arena with Charmaine Soh leading the way for the home team with 28 goals. Soh’s team mates Yasmin Homade 20 of her 20 attempts on goal, while Pamela Liew (13) and Chen Huifen (4) also kept the scoreboard ticking along.
Singapore will face Malaysia on Tuesday, in what could be a sneak preview of the gold medal match.