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Safuwan Bahrudin celebrates with teammate Khairul Amri after scoring his second goal of the match. Photo: Sport Singapore news

Lions on track for chance to reach AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals

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Safuwan Bahrudin celebrates with teammate Khairul Amri after scoring his second goal of the match. Photo: Sport SingaporeSafuwan Bahrudin celebrates with teammate Khairul Amri after scoring his second goal of the match. Safuwan went on to score a hat-trick. Photo: Sport Singapore

Singapore beat Timor-Leste 6 – 1 in their 3rd game of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup to secure another three points in Group B at the National Stadium earlier tonight. 

Despite the convincing win, the Lions will need a good result against Thailand on Sunday (25 Nov) at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok to secure a spot in the semifinals after group leaders Thailand drew 1-1 with the Philippines in the evening's other game.

That result means Thailand is still top of Group B with 7 points, while Philippines remain second on 7 points as well, but with a poorer goal difference.

The Lions knew they needed nothing less than a win and it took them only 12 minutes when Safuwan Baharudin headed into the net.

However, the lead barely lasted a minute when unmarked forward Rufino Gama tapped home from the counter-attack to equalise.

The home side then got back on their feet, and Safuwan got his second of the night in the 19th minute as he smashed home the rebound after Aderito Fernandes kept out Ikhsan Fandi's freekick.

Ikhsan Fandi of Singapore going against Filomeno Junior of Timor-Leste. Photo: Sport SingaporeIkhsan Fandi of Singapore taking on Filomeno Junior of Timor-Leste. Photo: Sport Singapore

Ikhsan got himself on the score sheet just 11 minutes after, but it was his second goal of the night before halftime that got the 18,408-strong crowd on their feet when he scored a spectacular bicycle kick to put the Lions up 4 – 1.

The visitors did well in the second half to hold up against the Lions. Nazrul Nazril delivered a promising kick in the 75th minute but was denied by the crossbar.

In the 90th minute, substitute Faris Ramli headed home from Zulfahmi’s corner and two minutes into stoppage time, captain Hariss Harun crossed the ball perfectly for Safuwan to complete his hat-trick with a stunning header.

“We have to focus on the next game, at the end of the day it’s the last game that will decide on our fate,” said Fandi Ahmad, Singapore’s head coach.

“The Thais are the favourites, we’ll be the underdogs of the game, but we’ll try to surprise them”.

 

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