Singapore secure a solid 2-1 win over Yemen in their 2022 World Cup Qualifiers

Singapore produced a solid display to defeat the Yemenis in Bahrain...
Singapore produced a solid display to defeat the Yemenis in Bahrain...

After their 2-0 defeat against Qatar in a friendly warm-up match for their 2022 World Cup Qualifier, Lions coach Tatsuma Yoshida was quick to praise his team for the positive aspects of their play - but not without a prophetic warning for his charges.

The Japanese insisted that his team must not get used to losing even if their 159th FIFA ranking deems them as minnows. Indeed, Tatsuma was trying to get his players into right frame of mind when they take on Yemen in their 2022 World Cup Qualifying Campaign.

Clearly those words seemed to have an impact as the Lions came out roaring to a 2-1 victory over their Middle Eastern counterparts under the pouring rain in Bahrain.

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At the start of the game, Singapore had to endure a fierce onslaught from the Yemenis, who gave the Lions very little time on the ball. Custodian Izwan Mahbud had to be on his toes as he made a few smart saves to prevent his side from conceding.

Gradually the Lions would grow into the game as they took hold of possession and credit must be given to Tatsuma here for the manner in which he set up his team. Skipper Hariss Harun and Yasir Hanapi's industriousness saw Singapore gain a foothold in the middle of the park - while Shahdan Sulaiman produced one of his finest performance in Lions shirt.

Not surprisingly it was Shahdan's corner which led to Ikhsan Fandi opening the scoring while stunning the Yemenis. Despite being under pressure from an opposing defender, Ikhsan managed to finish with aplomb as his half-volley rippled the net in the 19th minute.

Ikhsan's form for Singapore has been devastating as he continues to bang in the goals - a testament to how his European stint is helping him grow rapidly as a footballer.

Subsequently, the second half followed the same narrative as in first, until the 52nd minute as Hafiz Nor unleashed a superb curling shot to put his side 2-0 up.

Yemen however, were unfazed and continued to attack in search of goals with their efforts being rewarded in the 85th minute - as Singapore retreated into their defensive shell.

Nasser Al-Gahwasi managed to evade the offside trap played by the Singapore backline - before tricking Izwan and slotting the ball back into the net.

Once again the defence proving the Achilles heel for the Lions providing a nervy finish for the Republic, as they held on to secure all three points.

The win sees Singapore move up third in their group only two points behind leaders Uzbekistan and a point behind Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, this victory will be a boost for the Lions however it must be noted that they are still a work in progress. Tatsuma will not be pleased his backline allowed a soft goal to be conceded in the dying stages of the game and he must address such issues. Concentration in the latter stages is also lacking at times but overall it was a solid performance from the team.

The win will be a boost for the Lions and they must get used to such results if they are to progress to the next stage of the qualifiers.

 

 

 

 

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