Singapore Ratings vs Cambodia: Ikhsan, Safuwan shine in Phnom Penh victory

Kenneth Tan Kenneth Tan

Kenneth Tan rates the players in Singapore’s 2-1 comeback win away against Cambodia in the international friendly played at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium on Tuesday night.  

The Fandi Ahmad effect keeps rolling on as Singapore claimed a second victory in four days, coming from behind to win 2-1 against Cambodia in their final international ‘A’ friendly before the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The Lions made four changes from their last outing, with Hassan Sunny returning in goal and Ho Wai Loon given his first international start at left-back, while Faris Ramli replaced Gabriel Quak on the left flank.

So how did they fare?

Player Ratings (1-10)

Hassan Sunny (6.5) – Replacing Izwan Mahbud in between the sticks, Hassan could not be blamed for Cambodia’s early opener due to the freak nature of the goal. He collected a few crosses into his area with authority and set up the attacks with his kicks from distance a number of times, but also flapped at a couple of corners later in the second half – which could have proved costly.

Zulqarnaen Suzliman (6.5) – Yet again chosen at right-back, the 20-year-old did not have a good first half and could have done better in a few defensive situations. Credit to him, he stuck to his task and fared much better in the second half – constantly snuffing out the threat that came down his flank. He is putting up a good case to start at the Suzuki Cup.

Irfan Fandi (7) – Another game, another solid showing for the strapping centre-back. The going was tough at times, but Irfan stood up strong to intercept the ball a few times and clear most of the balls that came his way. Most importantly he has completed a second straight full game for the Lions, after previously struggling to last a full game at the international level.

Safuwan Baharudin (7.5) – Handed the Lions armband for the first time, Safuwan put up a true captain’s performance with a commanding display at the heart of defence. Getting an early kick to his head never affected him as he denied the inroads of the Cambodian attackers and also made use of his aerial ability well on attacking set-pieces. With Cambodian substitute Chan Vathanaka finding more space down Singapore’s left later on in the game, he also stepped in to ease the pressure off his left-back Zulfahmi Arifin on a few occasions.

Ho Wai Loon (5) – Handed his first international start at left-back, Ho’s dream quickly turned into a nightmare, when he inadvertently cleared into his own net on 17 minutes while trying to snuff out a left-wing cross into the area. He was then shifted to central midfield, but never came to grips with the demands of the position and conceded possession a few times before being replaced at half time. It was a night that nothing went right for the Warriors FC player and he will be hoping for better fortunes in his next appearance.

Izzdin Shafiq (6.5) – He huffed and puffed, but – just like a few others – never quite got his engine going in the first half. The Home United playmaker gradually settled in during the second half and would eventually play a huge part in the Lions’ winning goal with his measured long ball setting up Ikhsan to convert.

Zulfahmi Arifin (7) – Starting in central midfield, Zulfahmi soon found himself slotting into left-back and kept things simple to navigate his way out of trouble. He faced more difficulties in the second half with Vathanaka constantly going down his flank, but with the help of Safuwan he managed to contain Cambodia’s star man and got his body in the way well to snuff out his threat. The Chonburi FC player can be happy with his night’s work.

Yasir Hanapi (5.5) – Once again used as a right winger, Yasir tried his best to influence the game with a few runs down the flank. However nothing once worked out for him – including an ambitious shot from range late in the first half – before he was subbed off at half time. It remains to be seen what his best role for Singapore is.

Iqbal Hussain (6.5) – Given another audition in the no. 10 role, Iqbal had a much tougher evening than four nights ago against Mongolia but kept trying to carve out opportunities for the other attackers. He then fared considerably better when he was shifted to the right wing in the second half, with his dribbling ability causing the Cambodian defence a few problems. The Hougang United man showed desire to get the ball back a few times in midfield, before limping off late on due to injury.

Faris Ramli (6.5) – Starting on the left wing, Faris was the brightest amongst the Singapore players and it was his superb solo run that drew a foul on the edge of the box early on. He was then shifted to the no. 10 role in the second half and did well to create a few good openings, but his influence waned as the game went on. He cannot be faulted for not trying though as he showed that he can contribute to the defensive side of the game by getting back to help the defenders out on numerous occasions.

Ikhsan Fandi (8) – After a not-so-convincing performance against Mongolia, Ikhsan stood up to be counted and proved his worth with an all-action display upfront. His persistence on chasing on seemingly lost causes almost earned an early penalty, with replays showing that he was caught on the leg by Cambodia keeper Um Vichet. He exploded into life in the second half, lashing wide after a solo run that took him past two defenders and heading over from two yards out later on. He never gave up and was duly rewarded on 74 minutes, as he kept his balance off Izzdin’s long ball to poke home the winner. Four starts, three goals – a possible Suzuki Cup Golden Boot winner anyone?

Substitutes

Adam Swandi (6) – Slotting in as a left winger after replacing Yasir at half-time, Adam tried his best to make things happen with his nifty footwork and to link up with his teammates, but was not as influential as he is when playing for his club Albirex Niigata (S). Credit to him, he did well to help out the defence late on to see out the result. He will surely be eyeing a better display to earn a spot in the eventual Suzuki Cup squad.

Jacob Mahler (7.5) – Replacing Ho for the second half, Mahler wasted little time in making his presence felt by constantly closing down the opponents and was never afraid to get stuck in. Even in the dying stages of the game, the 18-year-old was there to put in a challenge to prevent the Cambodians from getting into the Singapore half.  Of course he was there at the right place at the right time to bundle home his first Lions goal in just his second international appearance to start the comeback. The future looks bright for this one.

Shahril Ishak (N.A.) – Coming on for the jaded Ikhsan in the final 13 minutes, Shahril took the armband and was unlucky not to score late on with his close-range shot being blocked at point-blank range by Cambodia captain Soeuy Visal.

Khairul Amri (N.A) – Replacing the injured Iqbal on 79 minutes, Amri got himself into the thick of things – carving out two opportunities and went agonisingly close to scoring on another occasion in the short time on the field.

M. Anumanthan (N.A.) – Came on for Izzdin with three minutes later and almost set up Amri to net in injury time.

Huzaifah Aziz (N.A.) – Got his second cap by coming for Faris in injury time and managed to contribute in one defensive situation before the whistle sounded.

Photo credit: Football Federation of Cambodia Facebook

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