SINGAPORE - The Republic's National Football Academy (NFA) Under-16s have finished third in the Lion City Cup after beating its U-15 counterparts 3-2 at Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday evening.
The game started brightly with both teams committed to playing football on the deck as slick passing moves were strung together at both ends.
But it was the juniors who took the lead in the 24th minute when centre-back Syed Akmal bravely launched himself and beat goalkeeper Aaron Tang to connect with left-back Jordan Vestering's teasing free-kick.
Ikhsan Fandi, who netted a hat-trick against Liverpool on Friday, lobbed into goal in the 38th minute but his effort was disallowed for offside.
The seniors were not to be denied a minute later, the U-16s equalised when midfielder Idraki Adnan burst through to drill the ball into the bottom corner.
As the players were sapped of energy, the long ball game crept in. From one counter-attack, NFA U-15 striker Glenn Kweh stormed forward, saw his initial effort parried before right midfielder Rezza Ramadhani hammered the ball back in for Glenn to finish.
Still, the U-16s had enough in their tanks to snatch the win in the dying minutes.
First, defender Nazhiim Harman thundered home a header off a corner with four minutes left. And three minutes into stoppage time, Syed handled a bouncing ball in the box and up stepped U-16 captain Saifullah Akbar to stroke home the winning penalty.