The Singapore Under-23 team found the perfect tonic heading into the SEA Games after posting a 6-0 thrashing of a hapless Philippines side at the Hougang Stadium on Sunday evening.
The match was billed as a charity event to raise funds for victims of the recent Typhoon Haiyan disaster, but there was little compassion in the result as Singapore dominated the game from start to end.
The win would have definitely enhanced the Young Lions' as they look to start the tournament against Laos next week on a positive note.
In their 1-0 friendly win against Cambodia last week, Singapore coach Aide Iskandar pointed out that his players needed to improve on their attacking play, and the players seemed to put what they have been working on into practice here.
The Lions had a blistering start to the game as they pressured the Azkals straight from kick-off.
Chances came and went as Singapore put in crosses in the box to try to get an opening goal, only to be let down by their profligacy.
For all the chances that Singapore created in the opening exchanges, they failed to trouble goalkeeper Nicholas O’Donnell, with Sahil Suhaimi the chief culprit.
The Courts Young Lions striker had three glorious chances to give Singapore the lead, but failed to hit a single shot on target. Afiq Yunos and Hafiz Sujad were also guilty of missing glit-edge chances after their headers failed to hit the target as well.
However just under the half hour mark, Nazrul Nazari brought things into his own hands with the opening goal. Faris Ramli, who came on for Afiq just moments before, passed the ball to Shahfiq Ghani, who chipped in a reverse cross to Nazrul. The winger's first-time effort finally hit the back of the net, giving the home side a deserved lead.
The chances kept coming as Singapore looked to get a second goal, but they had to wait until the second half before the floodgates were well and truly opened.
In the 52nd minute, Sahil beat his marker but substitute goalkeeper Jose Paolo Pascual parried away his shot, only for Shahfiq to tap home the rebound from close range.
It became 3-0 less than five minutes later as Sahil finally got the goal he so badly craved for. The 21-year-old reached the end of Hariss’ long ball and made no mistake this time as he smashed the ball to the roof of the net.
The fourth goal came in the 70th minute as Hafiz regained possession from midfield and went on an individual run before shooting beyond the reach of a helpless Pascual.
It was all too easy for Singapore as Philippines could not match the intensity and tireless running of their opponents.
The Lions struck two more goals in added time to add insult to injury, with substitutes Iqbal Hussain and Madhu Mohana both getting on the score-sheet from close range.
Singapore will definitely face tougher oppositions in the SEA Games, but the result on Sunday night was the perfect boost for Aide and his boys ahead of their first game on December 8.