The Lions made an unbeaten start to the year with a come from behind draw against their European opponentsSingapore walked away with a 2-2 draw against Azerbaijan, who were coached by German tactician Berti Vogts, at the Sevens Stadium, Dubai, U.A.E, in their first international ‘A’ friendly of the year.
A penalty conversion from captain Shahril Ishak and a last-minute equaliser from Shahdan Sulaiman erased the 2-0 lead the Europeans had and earned a draw for Raddy Avromovic's men.
Shahdan got the Lions’ first chance at goal in the ninth minute when a Hassan Sunny long punt up the field found Fazrul Nawaz down the right. The Singapore Armed Forces FC winger clipped a delightful cross into the path of Shahdan who blazed it wide.
While the Lions looked to continue pushing forward, a defensive error in the 15th minute saw Azerbaijan striker Rauf Aliyev find his way into the box and unleash a shot that glided past Hassan to give the Europeans a 1-0 lead.
Singapore went into the break a goal down and Irwan Shah, Shi Jiayi and Qiu Li came on for the second-half in place of Agu Casmir, Shaiful Esah and Fazrul Nawaz as Avramovic remapped his tactics in search of an equaliser.
However, the boys had to bite the bullet when Azerbaijan right-back Mahir Shukorov found the back of the net just past the hour mark to give Berti Vogts’ side a 2-0 lead. Firdaus Idros was brought on six minutes later in place of the hardworking Isa Halim to give the side more penetration in attack.
With the result seemingly set in stone at that point, Shahril Ishak rallied his men and in the 71st minute, some good work down the left saw Qiu Li bamboozling his way into the box before getting hacked down and earn the Lions a penalty-kick.
Captain Shahril stepped up and on his second attempt, converted successfuly to push the game into a nervy final 19 minutes.
While Azerbaijan desperately tried to slow the game down, Avramovic urged his men forward and the breakthrough came with the final kick of the game when Mustafic Fahrudin deceived the entire Azerbaijan defence to lay on a perfect ball for a grateful Shahdan to send a low grounder past the goalkeeper, and hand the Lions and unlikely draw.
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