SINGAPORE - The Lions' steady improvement with Tatsuma Yoshida continues as they held world No. 98 Jordan to a 0-0 draw away at the Amman International Stadium on Saturday (Oct 5) night.
The 45-year-old national football coach continued to blood young and inexperienced players as he awarded 20-year-old central midfielder Hami Syahin and 25-year-old forward Fareez Farhan their first international starts.
Kicking off with a 4-3-3 formation, Singapore persisted with their industrious pressing led by Fareez up front, leading to stray passes and turnovers from the hosts earlier on.
They came closest to scoring when Faris Ramli pickpocketed his opponent in the Singapore half to launch a counter-attack in the 23rd minute through Hariss Harun, Fareez and Hami, whose final pass found Gabriel Quak in an offside position.
As they grew into the game, Jordan's technical superiority was cancelled out by the Lions' discipline in keeping their shape, while the visitors also had centre-backs Safuwan Baharudin and Irfan Fandi to thank for vital blocks against Baha Seif.
In the second half, Yoshida also handed first caps to 23-year-old Darren Teh and 25-year-old midfielder Hazzuwan Halim as his side held firm for some valuable Fifa ranking points.
This was the first time world No. 157 Singapore were playing a team ranked in the top 100 under the Japanese.
That they managed to end a five-match losing streak that stretched back to 2010 against Jordan, who had beaten Saudi Arabia 3-0 in the West Asian Football Federation Championship in August, bodes well for the Lions as they take on the Saudis in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday night (Friday, 1am, Singapore time).
Singapore skipper Hariss told The Straits Times: "It was a hard-fought draw and we did well to hold our shape.
"But we need to be better with the ball. We did not really create many chances and we have to work on that."
Yoshida's men will also take heart from extending their unbeaten run against middle eastern opponents to three games under their new coach, who now has an overall record of two wins, two draws and one loss since taking over in May.
"We must believe we can match these teams, and know we need to keep improving," said Hariss.
"Football is about goals and winning, so we have to heep working hard and push ourselves."