Resilient Singapore edge Malaysia

Singapore have booked their place in the next round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers after a 1-1 draw with arch rivals Malaysia at the Bukit Jalil Stadium.

Football News: Singapore vs Malaysia

Shi Jiayi's equalising goal in response to Safee Sali's opener for Malaysia, helped Singapore secure a dramatic 6-4 aggregate success and a coveted place in Asia's next phase of qualifying en route to the final festivities in Brazil.

Following a cautious start, it was Malaysia who spurned the game's first chance in the 5th minute when, after a neat run and pass from Malaysia danger man Safee Sali, S Kunanlan's shot was smartly saved by Izwan Mahbud in the Singapore goal.

Singapore responded well and could have broken the deadlock six minutes later, only to see the unmarked Qui Li's effort smartly repelled by goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat at the far post following a cross that somehow eluded Malaysia's backline.

Khairul, who was replacing Sharbinee Allawee Ramli, came to Malaysia's rescue again on 15 minutes as he bravely produced a fantastic double save to first deny veteran forward Aleksandar Duric and then Qiu Li.

With Safee and Kunanlan to the fore, Malaysia pressed forward regularly only to flounder on a solid Singaporean back four and courageous keeping from Izwan.

Instead, and in the last meaningful action of the first period, it was Singapore who came close yet again, Fahmi excelling as he produced a magnificent save to stop Shaiful Esah's accurate free-kick.

Clearly buoyed by coach K Rajagobal's half-time message, the hosts were quick out of the blocks after the break, but with Singapore defending resolutely and content to rely on the counter-attack, there was no way through for a Malaysia side that was dominating possession in the second half's opening stages.

Salvation of sorts for Malaysia was, however, not long in coming.

Shortly before the hour mark, and with Singapore waiting for the Japanese referee to give what they thought was a free-kick, Kunanlan twisted and turned on the edge of the penalty area before finding Safee who drilled a fierce right foot shot past Izwan.

The goal duly produced a fascinating standoff, Malaysia initially pushing forward almost at will and Singapore, clearly tiring as the game wore on, defending deeper and deeper. Enter Singapore's Shi Jiayi.

In what proved to be a key moment in the 72nd minute, Izwan's long clearance was cleverly flicked on by Duric and Shi Jiyai, eluding his markers, calmly stroked the ball home.

Duric himself came close to adding to Singapore's tally on 78 minutes, but his header from a delightful Shahril Ishak centre floated agonisingly wide.

In the end, and having survived a late burst and shot from Qiu Li, it was not to be for Malaysia.

Ahmad Fakri's late sending-off for his second yellow card, signalled the end for Rajagobal's men, as Singapore ran down the clock to claim a deserved place in the next round and spark wild celebrations amongst the Lions squad.

Malaysia: 22-Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, 2-Mahali Jasuli, 6-Fadhli bin Mohd Shas, 7-Mohd Aidil Zafuan (5-Muslim Ahmad, 22'), 4-Asraruddin Putra Omar, 21-Amirul Hadi Zainal, 8-Ismail Faruqi Asha'ri (15-Kandasamy Gurusamy, 63'), 12-Amar Rohidan, 16-Kunalan Subramaniam, 14-Abdul Hadi Yahya (13-Ahmad Fakri Saarani, 71'), 10-Safee Sali.

Singapore: 1-Izwan Mahbud, 23-Juma'at Jantan, 2-Safuwan Baharudin, 16-Daniel Bennett, 3-Shaiful Esah (4-Isa Halim, 83'), 7-Shi Jiayi, 14-Hariss Harun, 15-Mustafic Fahrudin, 17-Shahril Ishak (10-Fazrul Nawaz, 79'), 11-Qiu Li, 9-Aleksandar Duric.



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