Six goals, six different scorers.
In a match organised to raise funds for victims of the recent Typhoon Haiyan disaster, the Singapore Under-23 team found the perfect tonic needed ahead of their SEA Games opener next Sunday against Laos.
Predictably, Singapore coach Aide Iskandar was pleased with the performance and result as goals from Nazrul Nazari, Shahfiq Ghani, Sahil Suhaimi, Hafiz Sujad, Iqbal Hussein and Madhu Mohana sealed a resounding 6-0 at the Hougang stadium.
“It’s a good morale booster going into a competition knowing that you scored six,” Aide said after the match.
“But at the same time, I told the boys not to be over-confident. We should take this as a morale booster and hopefully we are ready, prepared and focused for our first game against Laos.
“The first half wasn’t that good especially with the amount of chances we had created. But in the second half, I thought our fitness was a little bit better and that was why we were able to create chances.
“I was quite happy the goals did not just come from [just] Sahil or Shahfiq. That was pleasing. I would like to see some goals from Hariss [Harun] and Zulfahmi [Arifin] in the future [as well].”
Despite the huge victory, Aide believes that his side still has room to improve.
“This team has a lot of potential to get better,” he said.
“Let’s hope we peak at the right time. I told the boys to try and improve game by game. We’ve improved from Hougang [United] to Cambodia and now Philippines. So let’s hope we can put up a good performance against Laos. We have to be careful because Laos is not an easy team.”
On the other hand, a shell-shocked Leigh Manson admitted Singapore deserved the defeat, even though the score was a difficult one to take.
“Singapore were definitely the better team on the day,” the Philippines coach said.
“You could see we were struggling with the pace they were playing at. We were constantly being overloaded because the fitness and speed of Singapore was greater than ours. They’ve benefited from playing together for a long period of time.
“I’d like to say the result is not important, but obviously we wouldn’t want to be on a receiving end of a humiliation. And it could have been more.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but we’ve been handed a football lesson today.”
Still, when asked whether Singapore was good enough to win the SEA Games, Manson warned that the Young Lions would need to take their chances in front of goal.
“If their finishing is sharper, then I think they’ve got a chance,” he said.
“They’re very quick, they restart the game very fast. The goalkeeper has the ball and he’s looking to distribute very quickly. Against a team that has trained for a long period of time and are match fit, can you afford to miss some of the chances? If they create the chances, then they’ve got a chance.“
The result aside, the charity game succeeded in raising more than S$50,000 for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
Football Association of Singapore president Zainudin Nordin was only too happy to be able to help a neighbouring country in need.
“I wish to first express our deepest sympathy to our friends from the Philippines, it is a truly trying time for them and and we hope to help in their times of distress in the way we know best – through football."
The Guest-Of-Honour for the event, Her Excellency Minda Calaguian-Cruz, who is the Philippines' Ambassador to Singapore, was thankful for the support showed by Singapore.
“We are grateful to all who remember the victims and their support,” she said.
“We would like to thank the Football Association of Singapore, S.League and the generosity of its partners – AirAsia, Village Hotel-Albert Court and TicketBooth and other co-sponsors for making this fund raising event a success.”