Safuwan: It was a bitter loss

The Singapore defender was left ruing a crucial lapse in defence that led to the match-winning penalty, ending the nation's hopes of a gold medal

Thailand's 1-0 defeat of Singapore in the SEA Games semi-final meant the Young Lions will have to wait another two years to break the nation's hoodoo of never having won the Gold medal.

But despite a strong start to the game that saw two good chances going to waste, Aide Iskandar's boys were undone by an uncharacteristic defensive lapse that lead to the match-winning penalty being conceded.

Speaking after the match a crestfallen Safuwan Baharudin put the mishap down to miscommunication between himself and goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, who had been slow off his line to collect a ball being shepherded by the defender.

"It was a mad scramble, and I got my foot wrong,"said the lanky defender.

"It was a miscommunication between me and Izwan, a spur of the moment thing. For a split second there was a loss of concentration."

But the 23-year-old stated that the defeat was cruel and that the Young Lions had done well, and only undone by an unfortunate mistake.

"It was a bitter loss," he added.

"The team did well, and they only scored through a penalty and that says a lot. In the second-half we did much better, moving the ball around and creating chances. They were just more clinical."

With the Gold medal now out of sights, Singapore has to quickly regroup and pick up from the defeat to win the bronze medal against Malaysia, who had earlier also been defeated in similar circumstances, going out to Indonesia after a penalty shootout.

Safuwan pointed out that there was work to be done still and the team are still in search of a first podium finish since 2009.

"Malaysia are not gonna be easy," said the LionsXII defender.

"It depends on how fast we can recover and the medical staff will do their best [to help us]. We have to lift our spirits up and it is going to be an important match.

"Both teams want the medal but I think we deserve it."

Safuwan, who was part of the Malaysia Super League winning side also admitted that it had been an exhausting year with competitions all year round and that he was in need of a much deserved break.

Singapore will face Malaysia on Saturday, December 21 while Indonesia and Thailand will compete for the Gold medal later the same day.