Singapore recorded their first win in Group D of the 2022 FIFA World Cup second-round qualifiers after beating Palestine 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday.
It took the Lions just four minutes to break the deadlock after some comical defending by Abdelatif Bahdari, who dallied in possession and then overhit a pass to give away possession inside his own area and allow Shakir Hamzah to lash home the opener.
But Palestine had obvious quality – having played at AFC Asian Cup 2019 just back in January – and they duly equalised in the 13th minute.
Singapore were just unable to clear their lines and the visitors were allowed to work the ball back into the area, where Yasser Hamed was eventually on hand to sweep the ball home following some scrappy play.
However, six minutes before halftime, the hosts reclaimed their lead when Safuwan Baharudin met a corner with a trademark thumping header past Rami Hamadeh.
Thereafter, Singapore came under plenty of fire from a Palestine outfit determined to salvage a share of the spoils, but they were ultimately able to hold out for an excellent win.
Following last Thursday’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Yemen, the Lions have now got their campaign up and running and can approach next month’s qualifiers with far greater confidence.
SINGAPORE: Izwan Mahbud, Irfan Fandi, Safuwan Baharudin, Amirul Adli, Nazrul Nazari (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 86’), Hariss Harun, Shahdan Sulaiman, Shakir Hamzah, Yasir Hanapi, Faris Ramli (Hafiz Nor 74’), Ikhsan Fandi (Fareez Farhan 79’).
PALESTINE: Rami Hamadeh, Musab Al-Battat, Yasser Hamed, Abdelatif Bahdari, Abdallah Jaber, Mohammed Rashid (Mohammed Yameen 55’), Mohammed Darweesh, Tamer Seyam, Nazmi Albadawi (Mahmoud Eid 83’), Oday Dabbagh, Mahmoud Wadi (Islam Batran 59’).
Photo credit: Asian Football Confederation