Tatsuma Yoshida enjoyed a winning start to life as the new coach of Singapore after his team claimed a thrilling 4-3 triumph over Solomon Islands in a friendly on Saturday.
Having been handed the reins of the Lions just over a week ago, Yoshida saw his charges take just four minutes to open the scoring at the National Stadium.
Finding space down the wing, Shahdan Sulaiman floated in a good cross and Faris Ramli did well to get in between two defenders and guide a header into the back of the net.
But, three minutes after halftime, Gagame Feni equalised for the visitors when he picked up possession on the left and danced inside Faritz Hameed before finding the bottom corner with a low shot.
Solomon Islands then took the lead ten minutes later when their opponents gave away possession cheaply and the ball eventually fell to Andrew Abba inside the area, and the striker made no mistake in rifling an unstoppable left-footed shot past Izwan Mahbud.
It was then the Lions’ turn to have to find an equaliser and they did just that in the 67th minute thanks to a touch of fortune, as Shahdan Sulaiman swung a freekick into the box which evaded everyone but nestled into the back of the net.
In what was proving to be a second half not for the fainthearted, Solomon Islands reclaimed the lead with 15 minutes remaining after a sloppy pass by Zulfahmi Arifin was intercepted and the ball was eventually worked to captain Benjamin Totori, who effortlessly beat Safuwan Baharudin with a turn of pace before firing home.
To their credit, the hosts mustered a near-immediate response when substitute Khairul Amri showed some lovely hold-up play on the edge of the area before threading a neat ball to connect with the excellent late run of Gabriel Quak, who coolly finished to make it 3-3.
And, five minutes from time, Singapore went to snatch the win when Shakir Hamzah met Quak’s corner with a firm header that was initially parried by Philip Mango, although Hariss Harun was on hand to fire home the rebound.
SINGAPORE: Izwan Mahbud (Hassan Sunny 81’), Faritz Hameed (Amirul Adli 90’), Safuwan Baharudin, Shakir Hamzah, Zulfahmi Arifin, Hariss Harun, Shahdan Sulaiman (Yasir Hanapi 77’), M. Anumanthan (Irwan Shah 56’), Gabriel Quak (Fadli Kamis 86’), Adam Swandi (Khairul Amri 67’), Faris Ramli.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Philip Mango, Allen Peter, Michael Boso, Hadisi Aengari, Emmanuel Poila, Joses Nawo, Jerry Donga (Dennis Ifunaoa 76’), Atkin Kaua, Gagame Feni (Tutizama Tanito 88’), Benjamin Totori, Andrew Abba (Micah Lea’alafa 71’).
Photo credit: Football Association of Singapore