A look-back at the 7 fiercest football clashes between Singapore and Malaysia

Singapore and Malaysia: 1989 SEA Games final. -- ST PHOTO: ALBERT SIM
Singapore and Malaysia: 1989 SEA Games final. -- ST PHOTO: ALBERT SIM
Singapore and Malaysia: 1989 SEA Games final. -- ST PHOTO: ALBERT SIM

The new National Stadium is set to host its first Causeway Derby on Saturday as arch-rivals Singapore and Malaysia clash in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup. A win for either side will mean a ticket to the semi-finals while the losing side goes home. Malaysia may have only won once in the two sides' last five meetings, but the Tigers still have a superior head-to-head record against the Lions, winning 29 games, drawing 21 and losing 21 times.

With so much on the line, Kallang can expect a cracker of a match, not unlike these top-seven Singapore-Malaysia clashes of all time.

1. Gone in 24 minutes; Lions fall to record defeat - Malaysia 6 Singapore 0 (1976, Olympic qualifiers)

Jakarta was the scene of Singapore's heaviest defeat at the hands of their neighbours. The was little separating the sides after more than an hour. In fact, had Dollah Kassim not spurned a couple of good chances in the first half, the match could have had a very different outcome. But the late introduction of inspirational leader Soh Chin Aun, who was nursing an injury, changed the tide. A Hasli Ibrahim own goal in the 66th minute opened the floodgates before Mokhtar Dahari completed the rout a minute from full-time.

2. The night Kallang roared - Singapore 1 Malaysia 0 (1977, World Cup qualifiers)

For the local football romantics, this is one the classics. On a day where 60,000 fans descended on Kallang, they witnessed a gripping contest between two flamboyant teams. The Lions had ball artists like Dollah Kassim, Quah Kim Song and S. Rajagopal and were coached by the legendary Choo Seng Quee. Yet the Tigers were the favourites and with stars like Soh Chin Aun, R. Arumugam and Santokh Singh, were regarded as one of Asia's top-four teams, after boasting many of the heroes who helped Malaysia qualify for the 1972 Olympics football tournament.

The match was packed with drama, a dubious penalty awarded to Singapore, a penalty appeal by Malaysia turned down, as well as a disallowed Malaysian goal. The Malaysian would lodged an official complaint to Fifa about the Japanese referee.

But all that those at Kallang will remember is a first-half penalty which Mohamed Noh converted after Quah Kim Song was brought down in the box.

Singapore coach Choo Seng Quee warmly embraces Quah Kim Song after Singapore beat Malaysia 1-0 in the pre-World Cup soccer tournament at the National Stadium in 1977. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MAK KIAN SENG

3. So close, yet so far - Malaysia 3 Singapore 1 (1989 SEA Games final)

The SEA Games football gold remains elusive for the Lions and they went so close 25 years ago in Kuala Lumpur when they met their old rival in the final. The late Borhan Abu Samah scored an unfortunately own-goal after just eight minutes before Fandi Ahmad equalised before half-time. But the Tigers surged ahead with two goals in two minutes from midfielder Lim Teong Kim (the uncle of Singapore defender Lim Tong Hai) and current Malaysia coach Dollah Salleh to send 45,000 fans at the Merdeka Stadium wild.


4. Kallang silenced - Singapore 0 Malaysia 4 (2002 AFF Cup group stage)

One of the darkest days in Singapore's football history. The day had started out with so much promise. Thanks to red T-shirts given out to fans, Kallang was an intimidating sight as 45,000 fans turned the dull, grey terraces into a sea of red. Foreign-born stars Egmar Goncalves of Brazil and Daniel Bennett of England were making their Asean Football Federation debuts, the first time Singapore had entered to tournament with naturalised citizens.

But as soon as the match kicked off, the evening turned into a horrible nightmare. Everything that could go wrong for Singapore, went wrong as the Tigers ran riot against a Lions team in disarray. Goals from forwards Akmal Rizal, Nizaruddin Yusof and a brace from Indra Putra Mahayuddin condemned the hosts to a defeat that ultimately cost coach Jan Poulsen his job. In an ironical twist, the free T-shirts given to fans had the words "Behind every Lion is a Tiger" emblazoned on it, in reference to the Lions' brewery sponsors. Needless to say, that T-shirt is seldom seen again.

Watch the video here.

5. Revenge for 2002 - Malaysia 0 Singapore 3 (2012 AFF Cup group stage)

It took a decade for the Lions to exact sweet revenge but it was well worth the wait. Malaysia were riding high as defending Asean champions and were playing at home in front of 90,000 fans at Bukit Jalil Stadium. But in coach Raddy Avramovic's final AFF Cup campaign, the Lions gave him the perfect parting gift with this complete display to silence the Malaysians. A brace from skipper Shahril Ishak and a late header from Aleksandar Duric gave Singapore the belief that they can go all the way. And they did. As Lions assistant coach Aide Iskandar, who played in the 4-0 drubbing in 2002, said after the match: "We sent the ghost back to Malaysia."

Watch the video here.

6. Lionel saves the Lions - Singapore 1 Malaysia 1 (2007, AFF Cup semi-final)

With the aggregate score tied at 1-1, Singapore goalkeeper Lionel Lewis made a massive howler when he spilled Eddy Helmi's weak shot into the net. But right winger Ridhuan Muhammad tapped in after Noh Alam Shah's towering header had set him up. Even extra time could not split the two bitter rivals and it was down to the dreaded penalty shoot-out. The Lions converted all five of their kicks and Lewis redeemed himself by saving the Tigers' fifth kick from striker Khyril Muhymeen Zambri to send a capacity National Stadium wild. Singapore would go on to beat Thailand in the final.

Watch the video here.

7. Lions go plastic fantastic - Singapore 5 Malaysia 3 (2011, World Cup qualifiers)

Played on Jalan Besar Stadium's plastic pitch, it rained goals in this see-saw encounter that saw the Lions triumph in the end. Safee Sali shot Malaysia into an early lead before goals from Singapore's foreign-born brigade Aleksandar Duric, Qiu Li, Fahrudin Mustafic and Shi Jiayi gave the home side a commanding 4-1 lead at half-time. But the Tigers clawed back two goals soon after the interval before Duric settled the game with a late goal. In the return leg, Shi scored in a 1-1 draw to give the Lions a 6-4 aggregate win.

Watch the video here.

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