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Singapore U-16 to Play CR Flamengo in Lion City Cup Final

 
The Singapore U-16s celebrating their penalty victory over Juventus U-15. (Photo: SSC)
 
They won the hearts of a nation with their performance at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), they are probably the only local football team that can fill the entire Jalan Besar Stadium with football fans and last night, the Singapore U-16 boys showed once again why they are the football darlings of the nation.

Kicking off in the earlier semi-final match, the Singapore U-16 boys held their nerve and progressed to the finals of the 23rd Lion City Cup after beating Juventus FC U-15 4-3 on penalties.

Not wasting any time, Hazim Hassan gave the Singapore U-16s the lead in just six minutes of play. He capitalised on some slack marking and slammed the ball into the back of the Italian’s net.

Hazim got his second seven minutes later when a delightful through ball from playmaker Hanafi Akbar found him unmarked once again and he gleefully slotted home his and Singapore’s second of the night.

The man orchestrating the Singapore attacks, Hanafi Akbar, constantly brought the stadium to its feet with his silky moves as he sought to create more chances for his strikers to kill the game off.

Constantly creating confusion and havoc, the Juventus defence must have heaved a huge sigh of relief when he was brought off in the 57th minute.

The substitution proved fatal as Juventus scored in the 59th and 70th minute to tie the game at 2-2.

Lacking the creative spark, Singapore was unable to unlock the Italian’s defence and penalties beckoned.

With the scores tied at 2-2 after three penalty kicks, referee Sukhbir Singh ordered a retake of Singapore’s fourth penalty after Jonathan Tan had put his spot kick wide, much to the displeasure of the Italians.

Jonathan then made no mistake with his second attempt and the boys booked their place in the finals after Lorenzo Zamarnian thundered his shot against the crossbar.

“We were a little bit lucky to win in the end, but what’s important is that the boys kept fighting till the end. They worked very hard, and did well,” said u-16 coach Koga.

However, the Singapore U-15 boys were not so lucky as they succumbed to a three nil defeat to a Flamengo side that finally turned on the samba.

Try as they might, the U-15 boys were unable to fulfill the dream of having the two Singapore sides battle for supremacy in the finals of the Lion City Cup as the Flamengo boys were clearly intent on spoiling the Singapore party.

A Mulhelmy Suhaimi own goal in the 61st was sandwiched between a Jorge Marco 39th minute goal, and Caio Rangel’s 80th minute finish as the Brazilians entertained the crowd with some slick passing and silky skills amidst the incessant samba drumming.

The Singapore U-16 will now face CR Flamengo in the finals on Sunday, June 26 at 8.45pm while our U-15 boys will face Juventus FC U-15s for 3rd and 4th placing at 6pm.