SINGAPORE - Singapore beat regional rivals Cambodia 2-1 as they wrap up the latest round of the World Cup qualifiers with a perfect two wins in two matches.
Cambodia coach Lee Tae Hoon said during the pre-match press conference that his side would be happy with a draw. True enough, his goalkeeper Um Serei Rath was already trying to run down the clock at the National Stadium after five minutes.
That said, Singapore did not show any urgency despite the visitors' reluctance to attack. The home side did break the deadlock through winger Faris Ramli after 16 minutes. From defender Madhu Mohana's long throw, midfielder Safuwan Baharudin rose highest to flick the ball on, and winger Faris reacted quickest to poke home from close range.
The home side got a penalty late in the first-half after Nub Tola handled the ball. Khairul Amri stepped forward, but his weak effort was saved by the goalkeeper. There was more drama, as Amri pulled his hamstring while taking the kick, and was replaced by Fazrul Nawaz at half-time.
The substitute made his mark two minutes after the break, beautifully curling the ball past Serei Rath after pouncing on a poor back pass.
Cambodia pulled one back on 65 minutes through Sos Suhana - their first goal in the World Cup qualifying campaign after five matches. Fortunately for Singapore coach Bernd Stange, his charges were able to hang on for the win and avoid an embarrassing draw against a Cambodia team who are bottom of Group E with zero points.
The Lions' next qualifiers are a double header against Japan (Nov 12) and Syria (Nov 17) at Kallang.