Substitute Khairul Amri and Fazrul Nawaz struck in each half to earned the Lions a victory over Koevermans' side...
The home side lined-up in a 4-4-2 formation with Alexander Duric and Fazrul Nawaz being the two strikers while Wim Koevermans made just one change from the team that started in the Nehru Cup final as Nirmal Chettri made his way in for Denzil Franco.
It was the visitors who started off well as Clifford Miranda looked lively on the left flank constantly troubling Singapore's right-back Juma’at Jantan. On the other wing, Sanju Pradhan combined well with Sunil Chhetri to provide the necessary ammunition.
The home side was let off the hook in the 15th minute as stand-in captain Baihakki Khaizan uncharacteristically lost the ball to Clifford in his own half. The Dempo SC winger crossed the ball inside the box however Sanju was unable to get onto the end of it.
India dominated the game in the first fifteen minutes and Singapore was left with the occasional counter through the middle but the visitors defence led by Gouramangi Moirangthem was proving a tough nut to crack.
Things seem to be heading into a wrong direction for the Lions as Shi Jiayi went down injured midway through the half and had to be replaced by Khairul Amri.
It proved to be the turning point of the game as within minutes, substitute Khairul made an impact on the game, scoring the opener three minutes before the end of the half.
A poor clearance by the Blue Tigers defence was knocked back onto the path of the Lions XII striker, who coolly slammed the ball beyond the helpless Subrata Paul.
The home side doubled their tally four minutes after the break as Mustafic Fahrudin turned provider for SAFFC’s hitman Fazrul Nawaz.
Syed Rahim Nabi was left chasing Mustafic down the left and was not able to stop the Tampines Rovers midfielder from launching a perfect grounder that eluded the entire Indian defence. Fazrul needed no invitation as he sent the ball into the top corner.
Koevermans made a few substitutions by bringing on Robin Singh for Sunil Chhetri and the East Bengal striker had an instant impact in the 69th minute. He turned and struck a shot from the edge of the box which had goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud stretch to avert the danger.
The Blue Tigers looks a tad frustrated as they couldn't create a decent opening to threaten the Singaporean defence as they went out of ideas.
It could have been three goals for the hosts in injury time as Firdaus unleashed a stinging shot from twenty five yards which was parried away by Subrata. The rebound fell to Fazli Ayob who missed the target from the middle of the box.
How do you stay up to date with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com – your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.