Singapore keep qualifications hope alive

Singapore kept their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup alive with a 1-0 defeat of Afghanistan on Thursday.

Lions striker Khairul Amri, who has reached the milestone of 102 caps for the national team on the day, scored the only goal of the Group E match at the National Stadium.

After the first half finished goalless, Amri rose the highest when Faris Ramli fired in an accurate cross into the Afghanistan box, and the striker made no mistake with his finish from close range.

The result means Singapore have closed the gap to the leaders in the group with seven points from four games. Bernd Stange's side is now level with second-placed Japan on points, albeit having played one more match.

Japan take on group leaders Syria in another World Cup qualifier later on Thursday, while Afghanistan are in fourth spot with three points from four games.

The eight respective group winners and the four best-placed runners-up advance to the next round of World Cup qualification, and will seal a spot in the 2019 Asian Cup.

Thursday's victory will come as a big relief for Stange's charges, after the German coach had targeted maximum points from their two home games against Afghanistan and Cambodia.