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Ali Kasim
Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014

Sports

Best performance by Lions ends in a draw

The New Paper | Ali Kasim | Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014

FOOTBALLBRNO 2

(Pavel Mezlik 48 pen, Tomas Brigant 90)

SINGAPORE 2

(Khairul Amri 43, Sahil Suhaimi 60)

They put in their best performance of the year during the first 60 minutes of the game, according to national coach Bernd Stange.

But the Lions were denied victory in the first friendly match of their training tour of Austria by a last-minute strike from long range.

Singapore recorded a 2-2 draw against Czech Republic top-tier side FC Brno in Salzburg on Saturday in a game where they twice took the lead.

The Lions, who fielded their strongest possible XI comprising the likes of Hariss Harun, Shahril Ishak and Safuwan Baharudin, drew first blood through Khairul Amri two minutes before half-time.

Shahril displayed some nifty footwork before feeding Amri, who controlled and finished well inside the box.

Singapore had a penalty call waved away in the opening minutes of the second half, before defender Baihakki Khaizan conceded a penalty.

Pavel Mezlik made no mistake from the spot in the 48th minute.

Substitute Sahil Suhaimi then restored the Lions' lead with a header, off a Faritz Hameed cross in the 60th minute.

Singapore should have put the game to rest late on, but Sahil and striker Fazrul Nawaz fluffed a two-on-one opportunity to score.

RELENTLESS PRESSURE

Brno, who finished ninth out of 16 teams in the Czech's premier division last season, applied relentless pressure during the closing minutes and were rewarded when striker Tomas Brigant struck from long range in injury time.

Stange was nonetheless pleased with his team's performance.

Said the coach: "I was delighted to see the best football the team has played in a year for the first 60 minutes of the game.

"We dominated, kept possession, and scored. But we lacked a little bit of fitness in the end.

"I think 2-2 is a fair result as both teams played on the same level, and we had an entertaining match which was fast-paced and of very high intensity.

"We expect tougher games ahead for the reminder of the trip."

On Friday, the Singapore Under 23s lost to Czech side FC Pribram 6-1. Aide Iskandar's charges will face Borussia Dortmund's Under 23 side on Tuesday.

The Lions will face Russian second division side Torpedo Moscow on Friday, before their final friendly against Dinamo Moscow on July 18.

aakasim@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 14, 2014.
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