Safuwan and Shakir seal Singapore win over Palestine

Ikhsan Fandi, Singapore, AFF Championship, 21112018
Singapore top Group D with 4 points...

Shakir Hamzah and Safuwan Baharudin were on target for Singapore as they defeated Palestine 2-1 at the Jalan Besar stadium, to top Group D with four points in their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Singapore started the game brightly controlling possession before working their way into their opponents' penalty box, where Kedah FA full-back Shakir got hold of the ball and rifled it into the top corner to give the Lions the lead in the fourth minute.

Tatsuma Yoshida's charges would continue to attack relentlessly with Ikhsan Fandi leading the line. Ikhsan had a golden opportunity to extend his team's lead but failed when he slipped at a crucial moment after Palestine's custodian pushed out the ball into his path - in the ninth minute.

Singapore's lead was however wiped out in the 13th minute after a blunder from captain Hariss Harun - who gave away a cheap corner when his backpass failed to find Izwan Mahbud. Noureddine Ould Ali's men would soon score from the resulting corner through Yasir Hamed in the 13th minute.

Unfazed by conceding a goal, the Lions kept on pressing for the second goal and were rewarded in the 38th minute when Safuwan leapt the highest to head the ball home from a corner - to put his side back in front before half-time.

Needing to draw level, Palestine entered the second half in a bullish mood as they became increasingly physical with their challenges. At times the match threatened to boil over as a few skirmishes and scuffles broke out here and there.

Palestine's pressure would see them carve out a chance in the 61st minute with a close-range volley hitting the side net. At this stage, Singapore was concerned with seeing out the game and Izwan was called into action a few times, however, the Lions held on - to give coach Tatsuma his first competitive win in front of 6,000 fans.