Football: Singapore Under-22s seal Merlion Cup final spot after 3-0 win over the Philippines

Amiruldin Asraf beats Philippines’ goalkeeper Michael Asong to score for Singapore in the Merlion Cup 2019 match at the Jalan Besar Stadium on June 7, 2019.
Amiruldin Asraf beats Philippines’ goalkeeper Michael Asong to score for Singapore in the Merlion Cup 2019 match at the Jalan Besar Stadium on June 7, 2019.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Fandi Ahmad was a proud coach and father after watching his Singapore Under-22 side deliver a composed 3-0 Merlion Cup win over the Philippines on Friday (June 7) with his two sons among the goalscorers.

The semi-final victory sends the Young Lions into Sunday's final against Thailand, who beat Indonesia 2-1 in the earlier match at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Given striker Ikhsan Fandi, 20, had arrived from Norway on Tuesday and was jet-lagged, it was no surprise that national U-22 coach Fandi opted to leave his younger son on the bench.

Despite the absence of Ikhsan, who has netted four goals in 11 games for Norwegian second-tier club Raufoss this season, the Republic took the lead in the first half through his replacement Amiruldin Asraf.

The Home United forward stole possession from Philippines defender Pete Forrosuelo in the penalty area and easily scored past goalkeeper Michael Asong in the 26th minute.

The host looked threatening on set-pieces and Singapore captain Irfan Fandi, 21, was an obvious danger thanks to his 1.88m frame during corners and free-kicks.

The centre-back almost scored in the 40th minute but his downward header hit the upright.

Fandi's eldest son made no mistake though in the 61st minute and guided his header past Asong to double Singapore's lead.

Six minutes later, Ikhsan, a half-time substitute, completed a swift counter-attack with a simple tap in after a cross from the right by midfielder Daniel Goh.