International Friendly: India goes down to Singapore

Singapore 2-0 India
Singapore: Khairul Amri – 43rd, Fazrul Amri – 49th

By Nilanjan Dutta,
AIFF Media Team

India went down 0-2 to Singapore in an International Friendly at the Chao Chu Kang Stadium in Singapore on Tuesday (October 16). Khairul Amri and Fazrul Nawaz scored one each for the home side in the 43rd and 49th minute respectively.

Despite conceding the odd goal in the first half, India stayed the better of the two teams in the first 45 minutes. They began with a purpose and pressed hard. The ball was switched from one flank to the other, the game slowed down when the situation needed and the ball played among themselves all throughout.
In the 9th minute, Mehtab Hossain broke into the Singapore box but rival defender Harris Harun recovered in time to scuttle Mehtab’s cross from inside the box. The very next minute, Clifford Miranda latched on a defensive lapse but Harun managed to flick his centre at the last minute to prevent Sunil Chhetri from pulling the trigger.

There’s something about the Choa Chu Kang Stadium. On the far side, you don’t have galleries; instead USD 2 million Villas stay witness. In the stands, however, the support stayed equal even as around 3000 fans turned up.

Much against the run of play, Singapore surged into the lead in the 43rd minute when Khairul Amri intercepted a clearance down the right, entered the box and placed it past an advancing Subrata Pal.
Almost immediately, India had another chance but Sanju Pradhan’s cross agonisingly missed Sunil Chhetri’s forehead.

Changing over, Singapore didn’t allow India to settle down and doubled the score in the 49thminute – Fazrul Nawaz putting it past a diving Pal.

To make matters worse, Captain Sunil Chhetri suffered a slight niggle and was eventually replaced by Robin Singh in the 62nd minute; Jewel Raja also came in for Sanju Pradhan. Three minutes later, Gurwinder Singh came in for Raju Gaikwad. Robin tried to make an impact soon but his left-footed volley from the top box went straight to the rival goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

With six substitutions allowed, Koevermans brought in Anthony Pereira in the 77th minute in place of Clifford Miranda and three minutes later, there was another double substitution -- Joaquim Abranches replacing Mehtab Hossain and Denzil Franco coming in place of Syed Rahim Nabi in the 80th minute. The move earned more thrust and a Francis Fernandes corner was gathered well by Mahbud and another went begging.

But it was an uphill task and despite India going all out, the Singapore defence managed to keep everything at bay till the final whistle.

INDIA: Subrata Pal; Nirmal Chhetri, Gouramangi Singh, Raju Gaikwad (Gurwinder Singh – 65th), Syed Rahim Nabi (Denzil Franco – 80th); Sanju Pradhan (Jewel Raja – 62nd), Mehtab Hossain, Lenny Rodrigues, Clifford Miranda (Anthony Pereira – 77th); Francis Fernandes; Sunil Chhetri (Sunil Chhetri – 62nd).
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