Shi Jiayi revels in Singapore success

Not surprisingly perhaps, Shi Jiayi was a happy man after his crucial World Cup qualifying goal against Malaysia on Thursday.

Singapore vs Malaysia World Cup Qualifier

Against the backdrop of a packed Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, the Home United midfielder superbly converted Aleksandar Duric's neat headed pass to secure his country a deserved 1-1 draw on the night and a 6-4 aggregate success over their bitter ASEAN rivals.

Read the Malaysia vs Singapore match report here

Shi Jiayi's equaliser, which came after Malaysia's Safee Sali had opened the scoring for the hosts, saw Singapore reach the third round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Whilst admitting that the 72nd minute strike was far from his best, the 27-year-old was fully aware of its significance.

"It was not my best goal ever, but I know how important it was to the team," he told The New Paper.

"Duric was in a good position and his header was very good. When I received the ball, I looked up and saw a pocket of space to the goalkeeper's right.

"So I just passed the ball in. I was very relaxed," he added.

Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic meanwhile was quick to praise Singapore's overall team effort, on a night when they more than matched their Malaysian counterpart - despite several contentious decisions from Japanese referee Takayama Hiroyoshi.

"The result, in the end, was what we were looking for," he said.

"I think the team played with good discipline, so I was confident that everything would go our way in spite of the poor refereeing."

In the third round of Asian World Cup qualifying, Singapore are set to face one of the continent's big guns on the shape of China, North Korea, Korea Republic, Australia or Japan.

The draw is set to be made in Brazil on Saturday (local time).

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