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Lions Show Their Bite in 5-3 Victory Over Malaysia

 
Scenes of joy and emotion after Qiu Li scored his first international goal and Singapore’s second of the night. (Photo: SSC)
 
“This was a classic Singapore-Malaysia game” were the words of Malaysian head coach K. Rajagobal at the press conference last night.

It was certainly a classic, a roller-coaster match and an eight-goal thriller where Singapore put five goals past our causeway archrivals Malaysia.

Nobody expected such a score line and certainly no one expected Malaysia’s Safee Sali to breach Singapore’s defence within 25 seconds of the kick.

The Malaysian fans hit a crescendo as the Singapore fans went silent in shock. Captain Sharil Ishak and his men stood dumbfounded, trying to grasp what had just happened.

It was definitely a blow, but not the knockout punch as Singapore’s Qiu Li decided to take matters into his own hands.

Winning a free kick outside the box in the eighth minute, Qiu Li’s low drive caught the Malaysian defence off guard and allowed Duric to sneak in and guide it home for the equaliser.

It was game on then as Singapore regained their composure and surged forward to bombard the Malaysian defence.

14 minutes later, Qiu Li was at it again, another free kick, another goal for Singapore as Qiu Li placed his free kick right in the top corner, giving Malaysian custodian Sharbinee no chance.

The crowd went crazy as Qiu Li and the players ran over to the Singapore dugout in celebration.

The Malaysian Ultras were silent as the taunts from the 4,000 strong Singapore fans drowned them out.

With Hariss Harun and Mustafic Fahrudin anchoring the midfield, Sharil Ishak and Shi Jiayi orchestrating the attacks and Qiu Li weaving his magic wand, Singapore were a whirlwind of an attacking force as the Malaysian defence found out.

Their defence was breached another two times in the first half. Mustafic Fahrudin slammed home an unstoppable shot in the 44th minute and a minute later, Shi Jiayi was on hand to tap in Aleksandar Duric’s cross, giving Singapore a 4-1 lead.

At that point, it seemed like the Malaysians were on the verge of capitulating and the half-time whistle must been a timely relief for K. Rajagobal and his boys.

However, it seemed that whatever was said in the dressing room was not heeded as just five minutes after the restart, Malaysia skipper Safiq Rahim was shown a straight red for his big boot to Hariss Harun’s chest.

Singapore then failed to make their numerical advantage count as only four minutes later, Lions right back Ismail Yunos was shown a second yellow for a clumsy tackle on Kunalan.

That red for Singapore was the turning point for the young Malaysian side as substitute Abdul Hadi Yahaya ghosted past the Lions’ defence to tap in Mahalli Jasul’s cross after 69 minutes.

A minute later, Malaysian dangerman Safee Sali scored his second of the night as his shot from outside the box was deflected beyond Izwan Mahbud’s reach.

Four minutes later, a mistake by Mustafic in the penalty box allowed Abdul Hadi the chance to equalise but his shot went wide.

The momentum then swung back to Singapore as nine minutes from time, evergreen striker Duric delivered the knockout to wrap the match up.

With his back to goal, Duric skillfully turned past his marker to slam a low shot past Sharbinee for his second of the night.

It was certainly a very good outing for Singapore but the team must now focus on the return leg in Kuala Lumpur this Thursday.

The second leg of the second round Fifa World Cup 2014 qualifier will be played on Thursday 28 July at the Bukit Jalil stadium.