Football: S'pore Under-22s fire blanks against Laotian counterparts in AFC Championship

After targeting a win against Laos' Under-22 for the opening match of their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Championship qualifier, the Singapore Under-22s could only manage a 0-0 draw against the hosts in Vientiane.

The Group J clash at the National Sports Complex Stadium in the Laotian capital was dominated by Laos, who could have snatched all three points in stoppage time but goalkeeper Zulfairuuz Rudy made a stunning point-blank save to deny Khonesavanh Sihavong's half-volley in the area.

Before Friday evening's game, Singapore U-22 coach Richard Bok had targeted maximum points from the matches against Laos and Mongolia, believing six points will be enough to help his side qualify for next January's finals in Qatar.

However, a draw against Asean minnows Laos means that Singapore will have to pick up at least a point against group favourites China, who they face on Sunday.

Earlier, in Group J's other encounter, China thumped Mongolia 5-0 to move to the top of the table.

The 10 group winners and five of the best second-placed sides will qualify for the AFC Championship along with the hosts Qatar.