In their first time playing in front of a paying public, the Lionesses produced a show to remember for the 1,500 fans as they beat Seychelles 6-2 in the opening game of the FAS Tri-Nations Series 2022 (Women’s) tournament at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday (April 4).
It was also Singapore’s first victory in an international ‘A’ fixture since a 1-0 win over Maldives at the FAS International Women’s Quadrangular in 2018, also the last time the team had played in front of a home crowd.
“When I first heard we were selling tickets, I felt a bit pressured, said vice-captain Stephanie Dominguez, who scored a brace.
“But it was a good pressure that pushed me even harder and play the best I can. Seeing not only my friends and family, but also others, pushes me to try harder.”
Singapore started well, enjoying long spells of possession before Dominguez tapped in from close range in the 18th minute, after goalkeeper Mendy Gabriel could only palm away Nur Farhanah Ruhaizat’s header.
The forward got her second eight minutes later, collecting Danelle Tan’s well-timed pass before firing into the bottom corner. The visitors regrouped and halved the deficit, thanks to Natacha Bibi’s effort in the 30th minute.
Singapore’s two overseas-based players Putri Syaliza Sazali and Tan then combined in the 52nd minute to make it 3-1.
Seychelles responded again as Bibi scored in the 70th minute, but substitute Dorcas Chu scored following a corner kick to restore Singapore’s two-goal cushion before Siti Nurerwadah Erwan and Danelle sealed the win with a long-range effort and a penalty respectively in time added on.
World No. 135 Singapore face a stiffer test against 49th-ranked Papua New Guinea next Monday.
While pleased with his team’s attacking display, head coach Stephen Ng admitted there were things to work on ahead of the May 12-23 SEA Games.
He said: “The team stayed disciplined today and displayed what we had worked on.
“From the result and the performance, we can see that there are still a lot of areas we have to continue to work on. Conceding two goals is not a very good outcome.
“We have to go back... and work on because the SEA Games are a different ball game altogether.”
Despite the defeat, there was reason to celebrate for Seychelles, who will earn their Fifa ranking after the game. They next face the Papuans on Friday.
“It’s hard to describe. The men’s team has existed for so long, but the women’s team only started playing games last September,” said head coach Angeline Chua, a former Singapore international.