Football: Boost for U-23s after 3-0 friendly win during centralised training

Coach Aide Iskandar (left) with Singapore Under-23 playmaker Adam Swandi. -- PHOTO: ST FILE  
Coach Aide Iskandar (left) with Singapore Under-23 playmaker Adam Swandi. -- PHOTO: ST FILE  

The Singapore Under-23 football team gave themselves a timely boost ahead of their quest for SEA Games glory when they clinched their first victory of the year, a 3-0 win over Shizuoka Sangyo University, on Saturday in Gotemba, Japan.

Shinzuoka held the Young Lions goalless in the opening 45 minutes, but finally succumbed in the 49th minute when Shakir Hamzah toe poked the ball in, after the Shinzuoka goalkeeper had fumbled Sahil Suhaimi's corner.

Shahfiq Ghani then made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute when he latched on to Stanely Ng's pass to rifle the ball in, before notching his second goal 10 minutes later with a well-taken free-kick.

The match was the second of the two friendlies that the U-23 national side have played during their week-long centralised training in Japan. They lost 1-2 to fourth division Japanese outfit, Azul Claro Numazu, on Thursday.

In their previous friendly matches this year, Aide Iskandar's team were were upset 1-3 by the Cambodia U-22 team in March. Prior to that, they had suffered a 1-8 loss to Japan's U-22s and a 1-2 defeat by Syria's U-23 side in February.

The team will return from Japan on Sunday and face Philippines in their SEA Games opening match on June 1.