Singapore Under-23s battle to draw in Solo against Indonesia
Izzdin Shafiq gave V. Sundramoorthy's side the lead but the hosts fought back to equalise, and were denied victory only by the top form of Khairulhin Khalid in the visitors' goal
By Khalis Rifhan
The Indonesia Under-23s were denied a victory by the heroics of Singapore Under-23 goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid, as a friendly match between the two sides ended 1-1 at the Manahan Stadium in Solo on Saturday night.
Played in front of a boisterous home crowd, the match was forced to a stop for a few minutes towards the end after the stadium was filled with smoke from the flares that were lit up by the Indonesian fans.
Indonesia had the bulk of possession and breathed down the neck of their opponents, but V. Sundramoorthy’s side remained calm and composed at the back and were disciplined whenever they switched to attacking gear.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 16th minute when captain Izzdin Shafiq executed a well-taken freekick, which flew straight into the back of the net.
The lead did not last long though as Rahmad Darmawan's side launched a swift attack down the right flank from the restart and Joko Sasongko made no mistake from Johan Yoga Utama’s cross to level.
The second half saw Indonesia piling on the pressure and Sundram must be thankful that although Khairulhin has not started a match for his club LionsXII this season, the goalkeeper did not disappoint his team.
Indonesia had a golden opportunity to score minutes after the restart but Ghozali Siregar’s effort from close range failed to find the target.
Singapore did find the back of the net in the 59th minute, but Faris Azienuddin's goal was ruled offside by the assistant referee.
Indonesia could have got the winner towards the end but Khairulhin was once again in top form as he stood firm and fisted away a freekick, before then palming a stinging shot away in injury time.
Both teams are using this match as a warm-up to the year-end SEA Games in Myanmar and are scheduled to meet again in a friendly on July 15 in Singapore.
The Singapore U23s will next host their Philippines counterparts in a friendly on June 13.
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