Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 is now wide open after Singapore went down 0-1 against Philippines yesterday night at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City. Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore are all on three points currently, with Timor-Leste propping up the group with zero points.
The game last night between Singapore and Philippines was a tight one, with very few clear cut chances for both sides. The Lions were more or less able to match the Azkals, who were being managed by a familiar face in the form of Sven-Goran Eriksson.
However, a late goal by Patrick Reichelt was enough to settle the issue as Philippines took all three points and ensured that the Lions went home empty handed. Confidence was high after Singapore beat Indonesia 1-0 at home in their opening game, and they came into this game believing that they could get something away from home.
Philippines may be ranked 49 places above Singapore in the FIFA rankings but they failed to create any meaningful chances throughout the game. They did create more after the break but Singapore’s goalkeeper Hassan Sunny was on hand to bail Singapore out.
The defining moment for the Azkals came in the 78th minute when Patrick Reichelt somehow made his way into the penalty area and fired in a low shot pass Hassan Sunny.
To the Lions’ credit, they did try to push for an equaliser and could have been rewarded late on when Daisuke Sato made a last ditch clearance to deny Singapore captain Hariss Harun.
Singapore will next play Timor-Leste at home on 21 Nov and then take on defending champions Thailand away on 25 Nov.
Click here to purchase tickets to catch our lions in action.
Editor's thoughts: The Lions shouldn't beat themselves up too much over this. Considering the fact that they almost came away with a draw against a team of this calibre away from home, I would say that it's a pretty good effort. They should continue to build on these two positive performances and concentrate on the next game against Timor-Leste. Personally, I think they should be winning comfortably against the bottom team and then from there, they should be in a comfortable position to proceed from the group stage with six points. The game away in Thailand will be a tough one but if we keep up our work rate and defensive shape, who knows? Noone really gave Singapore a chance going into this competition but it seems that they are proving their critics wrong.