Singapore, March 26: Singapore outplayed Pakistan 3-0 in the Asian Football Cup qualifier here on Tuesday night and ended their hopes of advancing into the next phase of the competition.
Pakistan coach U.F. Tariq Lutfi at the post-match conference Singapore played at “a high tempo and at a high level. We are only an amateur side and found it difficult. I must congratulate them. Singapore played excellent football.”
Pakistan having beaten Macau 3-0 in the three-team event, needed only a draw to qualify were put on the defensive as the hosts forced the pace from the start and the much needed early goal came after just four minutes from the foot of their brightest talent Indra Sahdan Daud.
Syed Mohamed Fadhil’s cross was knocked back by Azhar Baksin to Indra in the penalty box. The striker controlled the ball and slammed the ball into the roof of the net.
Pakistan had their chances but failed to capitalise on the opportunites with Qadeer Ahmed who scored twice against Macau failing to score.
After being denied twice by the post, Singapore finally bagged their second goal in the 33rd minute - albeit in bizarre fashion.
In an attempt to nod Razif’s cross to his goalkeeper, Pakistan defender Adeel Ahmad headed the ball onto his own arm.
Indonesian referee Hidayat Jajat Sudrajat awarded Singapore a penalty, which Indra tucked into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Indra led the way in a second-half onslaught, but had to be content with just two goals as Noh Alam Shah made it 3-0 in 66th minute.
Singapore joins Palestine, Qatar and Kuwait in the second qualifying round in August.
Singapore: Lionel Lewis, Razif Mahamud (Razaleigh Khalik, 69th), Aide Iskandar, S. Subramani, A. Siva Kumar, Goh Tat Chuan, Shahril Ishak, Syed Mohamed Fadhil (Fadzuhasny Juraimi, 62nd), Azhar Baksin, Egmar Goncalves (Noh Alam Shah, 60th), Indra Sahdan Daud.
Pakistan: Jaffar Khan, Adeel Ahmad (Talib Hussain, 42nd), Tanveer Ahmed, Sarfaraz Rasool, Qadeer Ahmed, Sajjad Hussain, Zulfiqar Ali Shah (Sahid, 21st), Muhammad Essa, Zakir Hussain (Syed Nasir Ismail, 73rd), Haroon Yousuf, Arif Masih.—PPI