On a night of high drama, Duric's 81st minute strike doubled his tally for the evening, and handed Singapore a late and vital psychological boost ahead of Thursday's second leg against their bitter ASEAN rivals at the raucous Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Duric's second came after a brace of late Malaysian goals had threatened to tip the tie's balance in Malaysia's favour following earlier Singapore strikes from Duric, Qiu Li, Shi Jiayi and Mustafic Fahrudin.
In the end, and despite Safee's early opener and a spirited late rally, Malaysia succumbed to opponents whose first half ruthless streak had left the game seemingly dead and buried before the break.
Following Safee's first minute opener, Singapore poured forward, with first Duric and then Qiu Li failing to make the most of decent chances. Not that Avramovic's charges had to wait too long for their equaliser.
With seven minutes on the clock, the outstanding Qiu Li's smart set piece found the onrushing Duric who, having slipped his markers, guided the ball easily past Malaysia goalkeeper Sharbinee Allawee Ramli.
In an instant Singapore sensed salvation, and duly doubled their lead on 22 minutes when Qiu Li's beautifully curled free-kick found the top corner.
For a moment, reigning Suzuki Cup champions Malaysia seemed to be roused from their slumbers and should have gone level had Ismail Ashari not been foiled by Izwan Mahbud's speed of thought and neat smothering save.
Singapore duly increased their advantage on 44 minutes as Mustafic netted handsomely following a sublime headed pass from Hariss Harun.
More woe was to come for Malaysia however, as Shi Jiayi popped up at the far post in injury time to score and send Singapore into the break 4-1 to the good.
When the game resumed there were red cards for Malaysia captain Safiq Rahim after a nasty challenge on Hariss, and Singapore full-back Ismail Yunos for a second yellow card.
In an instant Malaysia came to life and reduced the deficit with two goals in a minute when Abdul Hadi Yahaya on 70 minutes and then Safee a minute later gave coach K Rajagobal and his team a degree of optimism.
It was not to be however, as Duric single-handedly motored his way towards goal before netting Singapore's fifth and potentially crucial goal come the return leg.