Singapore put two past Fiji to record first win under Fandi Ahmad

Kelvin Leong Kelvin Leong

Singapore cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Fiji in an international friendly at the Bishan Stadium on Tuesday night.

Goals from Ikhsan Fandi and Hariss Harun ensured Fandi Ahmad got his first win after just two matches in charge of the Lions.

It was Fiji who got off to a better start when debutant Jacob Mahler gave the ball away and Rusiate Matarerega found Roy Krishna in the box, but the Wellington Phoenix forward’s shot was comfortably dealt with by Hassan Sunny.

The Lions settled into their rhythm after the early scare and began to exploit the high Fiji backline with two goals in quick succession.

Ikhsan’s brilliant shot in the ninth minute was pushed out for a corner by goalkeeper Misiwani Nairube and Zulfahmi Arifin curled in the resultant set-piece for Hariss to thump home an unstoppable header.

Almost from the restart, Gabriel Quak’s beautiful ball released Ikhsan down the right and the 19-year-old charged down at goal and rifled home a low shot to make it 2-0 for the home team.

It was Krishna who almost pulled one back for Fiji in the 21st minute when his quick turn away from Irfan put him on sight for goal. With Baihakki Khaizan chasing him down, Krishna still managed to get his shot off, only to see it come off the post.

Fiji tried to change the game by bringing on Abbu Zahid for Matererega with six minutes to the break and the Fijians almost troubled Hassan when Remueru Tekiate’s free-kick was on target.

Fandi brought on Yasir Hanapi and Shahril Ishak for Quak and Shahdan Sulaiman respectively as Singapore looked to put more goals on the board.

Both teams looked flat coming out of the break but the visitors clocked a golden opportunity in the 58th minute when Tekiate floated in a free-kick but Dave Radrigai failed to keep his header down.

Singapore striker Ikhsan Fandi

The loudest cheer on the night belonged to Warriors FC midfielder Ho Wai Loon, who came on for his debut, in place of captain Hariss on 62 minutes after spending the last one year chasing that elusive first cap.

Veteran striker Shahril, who also came off the bench struck a cheeky free-kick that almost caught Nairube out in the 67th minute for the Lions’ first shot on goal in the second half.

That near miss woke Singapore up and they began to surge forward in search of a third goal.

It was Shahril again four minutes later who tested the goalkeeper when some good work by Amri saw him release the Protectors star in the box, but his shot was palmed away.

There was late drama with five minutes left when Kolinio Sivoki was given a second caution and sent for an early shower for a late tackle on Mahler.

Thai referee Mongolchai Peshsri called an end to proceedings after three minutes of added time to give Singapore their first victory since late March when they beat Maldives 3-2 under V. Sundramo Moorthy.

Singapore: Hassan Sunny (GK) (Zaiful Nizam 60’), Zulfahmi Arifin, Baihakki Khaizan, Irfan Fandi, Faritz Hameed, Hariss Harun (C) (Ho Wai Loon 62’), Jacob Mahler, Zulfadhmi Suzliman (Khairul Amri 62’), Gabriel Quak (Yasir Hanapi 45’), Shahdan Sulaiman (Shahril Ishak 45’), Ikhsan Fandi (Shakir Hamzah 79’)

Fiji: Misiwani Nairube (GK), Kavaia Rawaqa (Paulo Buke 80’), Zibraaz Sahib, Remueru Tekiate, Junior Narendra (Christopher Wasasala 54’), Kishan Sami, Rusiate Matarerega (Abbu Zahid 39’), Dave Radrigai, Kolinio Sivoki, Laisenia Raura, Roy Krishna (C)