Singapore 1-5 Malaysia: Second-half mistakes lead to harsh defeat for Lionesses

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Lionesses to take on Malaysia in friendly
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Lionesses to take on Malaysia in friendly

Despite holding their more illustrious Malaysian counterparts at half-time, a couple of silly mistakes saw the Singapore women's football team succumb to a 5-1 defeat in their AFF Cup warm-up match at Bukit Gombak Stadium on Sunday evening.

The first warning was fired by the visitors on the 12th minute when Lovelytha's header inside the six-yard box rocked the woodwork with Singapore goalkeeper Noor Kusumawati stranded in goal.

15 minutes later, the powerful striker opened the scoring as she won the duel for a loose ball between her and Kusumawati, before rolling the ball home despite the attention of a Singapore defender.

However the Lionesses did well to level matters on 36 minutes.

Key forward Noor Fatin Afiqah capitalised on a mistake by a Malaysian defender to side-foot past goalkeeper Nurizwani with the latter managing to get a slight touch.

The Malaysians had the better end to the half, however, Lovelytha shooting just wide from a tight angle and right back Shereilynn Elly Pius's cross cum shot grazing the post.

A 1-1 scoreline meant the hosts stood a good chance of a shock win but that hope quickly evaporated within minutes of the restart.

A minute into the second-half, Lovelytha exploited a loophole in the Lionesses' defence and calmly chipped the ball over the advancing Kusumawati.

Barely a minute later, forward Jaciah took advantage of the home side's hesitation in clearing the ball again to slot the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

The Malaysians' class - faster movement and controlling of the play - meant they dominated the rest of the half, created many nervy moments in front of the Singapore goal and duly grabbed another two goals.

A defensive mistake on 75 minutes saw forward Haindee stealing in before playing an unselfish slide-rule pass to fellow substitute Suriani Salim to gleefully tap into an empty net.

The rout was completed four minutes later as Singapore substitute goalkeeper Nur Fadhilah's first task after coming on was to pick the ball out of the net.

A looping 30-yard free kick by Shereilynn nearly caught out the custodian as the ball came off the crossbar, and Haindee was the first to react to coax it into an empty net.

To the Lionesses' credit, substitute Vivian Eng did well to fashion an opportunity out of nothing on the stroke of full time but Afiqah could only send a feeble shot to Malaysian substitute goalkeeper Dniya Fatihah's arms.

After the match, Singapore coach Hisham Bin Roslan cited the differences between his side and the opponents while lamenting what could have been.

"Basically we have a young and inexperienced team, we just started training less than three months ago," said Hisham to Goal.com Singapore.

"We trained three times a week unlike the Malaysians who have had centralised training since last year and train twice every day.

"In the first half, we matched them but in the second, we made a couple of silly mistakes which cost us the game."

The Lionesses will be departing on September 11 to take part in the annual AFF Cup, and he admitted it will be an uphill task to do well in the competition that will be played out in Vietnam.

"Other than silly mistakes, we also lacked fitness so there's a lot of work to be done," he told Goal.com Singapore.

"To participate in the tournament, that will give them the exposure and we hope we can do miracles there. It won't be easy especially when we're facing teams like home team Vietnam and Myanmar who are powerhouses in South East Asia."

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