Football: Lions lose 2-1 to Afghanistan in Stange's final match in charge

The Lions during a training session in Teheran, ahead of their final second-round World Cup Group E qualifying match against Afghanistan.
The Lions during a training session in Teheran, ahead of their final second-round World Cup Group E qualifying match against Afghanistan.PHOTO: FAS

SINGAPORE - German Bernd Stange wrapped up his stint as coach of Singapore's football team with a 2-1 loss to Afghanistan in the final World Cup/Asian Cup Group E qualifier on Tuesday night.

Goals either side of half-time by Khaibar Amani (39th) and Josef Shirdel (79th) at the Takhti Stadium were enough to see off the Lions. Striker Fazrul Nawaz pulled one back in the 89th min but by then it was too late.

This result puts Stange's record at 15 wins, four draws, and 16 losses in 35 international matches in charge of the Republic.

The match, played in neutral Teheran, was essentially a dead rubber for the Lions, who have already secured passage to the third qualifying round of the 2019 Asian Cup.

They finish third in Group E with 10 points from eight matches. Asian powerhouses Japan top the group with 22 points, while Syria are second with 18.

Afghanistan were fourth with nine while whipping boys Cambodia prop the group with zero points.

The only Southeast Asian to enter the Fifa World Cup third qualifying round is Thailand. The reigning Suzuki Cup champions finished top of Group F with 14 points, ahead of Iraq (9 points), Vietnam (7) and Chinese Taipei (0). Indonesia were disqualified due to a Fifa suspension.