It all seemed to be going well for the Singapore Lions as they led in the 63rd minute from a Shakir Hamzah goal, but Turkenmistan’s equaliser through Annadurdyyev Altymyrat with eight minutes to go silenced the home crowd at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday.
Singapore started well playing a revised 3-4-3 formation and creating several chances in the opening exchanges.
Singapore's Shakir Hamzah celebrates his goal. Photo: Sport Singapore
Coach V. Sundramoorthy’s plan to overrun their opponents on the flanks paid dividends in the 63rd minute when Hariss Harun’s deflected cross fell to wingback Shakir Hamzah who scored with a fierce volley.
“We created chances and we should have scored a second goal,” said Sundram at the post-match press conference.
“That would have put us in the comfort zone. One goal is a very slender lead. But we kept creating chances and that's the key.”
Singapore pegged back their opponents who were clearly affected by the humidity and heat. But Turkmenistan never gave up and got their reward in the 82nd minute when Altymyrat exploited space in the Lion’s defense to guide in a near post finish.
Turkmenistan's Annadurdyyev Altymyrat scores his goal to salvage a draw. Photo: Sport Singapore
“We should have done better in the last quarter, we were tiring faster than the opponent,” bemoaned Sundram.
“I thought we had it (the win). Now, we should work harder in the last quarter of the game,” he added.
With an away game in Turkmenistan to go, the Lions will have to beat their hosts and hope that Bahrain does them a favour against Chinese Taipei in order to qualify for the Asian Cup.