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June 13, 2013 7:30 PM SGT
Hougang Stadium — Singapore
Referee:‬ Mohd. Taqi‎

Safuwan heads Under-23s to victory over Philippines

The centreback's first-half header was enough to seal victory for the home side over their hardworking opponents in a friendly

By Teng Kiat

Singapore U23 vs Philippines U23
The Singapore Under-23s followed up their 1-1 draw against Indonesia U23s on Sunday with a battling 1-0 victory over their Philippines counterparts on Thursday night, as they continued their SEA Games preparations.

LionsXII centreback Safuwan Baharudin’s header midway through the first half was enough to see V. Sundramoorthy’s charges record a triumph on a healthy-looking Hougang Stadium pitch, as the Courts Young Lions players in the squad sat this out following their League Cup exertions yesterday.

The home side started strongly and were well on top in the opening stages, with Aqhari Abdullah squandering an opportunity with a poor first touch after Faritz Hameed’s cross had found him unmarked in the box.

In the 15th minute, winger Fazli Ayob got to a flick-on from Safuwan at the far post but could only poke the ball against the bar from close range as he stretched to meet it.

The Singapore U23s’ dominance was rewarded in the 24th minute when Safuwan stole in at the far post to head home Fazli’s corner from the right.

Striker Syafiq Zainal hit a 30-yard grounder straight at Philippines goalkeeper Patrick Deyto three minutes later, as the visitors struggled to string even three passes together. The striker then forced Deyto into a smart block with a shot from a narrow angle in the 38th minute, as Singapore pressed for a second.

Skipper Hariss Harun then rose the highest to meet Fazli’s corner moments later, but knocked his header wide when he should have buried the chance.

The indomitable Syafiq was on a determined hunt for a goal and tested Deyto yet again as half-time approached, firing straight at the Philippines custodian after doing superbly to spin away from two markers near the half-way line.

It was pretty much the same scenario in the second half as Singapore continued to enjoy more of the ball, despite Philippines winger David Pusing threatening in brief flashes down the left with some incisive runs.

Chances were at a premium at both ends however, with the two sides struggling to fashion any clear-cut opportunities. Substitute Gabriel Quak put the ball into the net in the 69th minute after latching on to Aqhari’s through ball, but he was flagged for offside.

Fellow substitute Randy Pay could have added a second deep in stoppage time but he skied his effort in the box well over from the left to leave Singapore ending the game with a one-goal winning margin.

June Friendlies
Times In SGT
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Shahfiq Ghani Shahfiq Ghani
1 1
Andri Ibo Andri Ibo
Persipura Jayapura
1 0
Joko Sasongko Joko Sasongko
Putra Samarinda
1 0
Safuwan Baharudin Safuwan Baharudin
1 0
Izzdin Shafiq Izzdin Shafiq
1 0