Late winner against Laos marks first success since 1985

Even as the bodies piled on her one after another, it had yet to sink in for Izzati Rosni.

With practically the last kick of the game with all four minutes of added time gone, she wrote herself into the history books by netting in the 95th minute to give the women's national football team a historic 1-0 win over Laos last night.

Izzati's goal sparked scenes of jubilation as the squad, including substitutes, piled themselves on top of her.

It was the Lionesses' first win at the SEA Games since 1985. The previous win came almost 37 years ago when they beat the Philippines 2-0 in Bangkok en route to a silver medal. Only three countries took part then in what was a seven-a-side tournament - Thailand beat Singapore 6-0 in the final.

Said Izzati, 23: "It feels unbelievable. When the ball went in, I was just so happy that I did my job for the team. They worked super hard and we all were so determined to win.

"We wanted to make history at these SEA Games, given that it's been 19 years (since their last appearance), so we're playing for the next generation of women footballers but also, the past generation who weren't able to compete at this stage."

The Lionesses are ranked 135th while Laos are 83rd. The Hanoi Games are the team's first outing at the biennial event since 2003 and only the fifth time they have participated.

The landmark win at the Cam Pha Stadium in Quang Ninh came courtesy of half-time substitute Izzati. With stoppage time over, she intercepted a Laos clearance just inside the box and fired a shot that hit the underside of the crossbar before finding the back of the net.

The Lion City Sailors midfielder is also the country's first goalscorer at the Games since Goh Lay Nah netted in a 2-1 loss to the Philippines in 1995.

The win puts Singapore third in the four-team Group B with three points from two matches. In their opening match on Tuesday, the Lionesses had put up a spirited showing against five-time champions Thailand before losing 3-0.

The Thais drew 1-1 with Myanmar yesterday with both sides still jointly top of the group with four points each. But if the Lionesses beat world No. 45 Myanmar tomorrow, they will be in the semi-finals.

Head coach Stephen Ng was delighted with the win but is already looking at the final group game.

He said: "After tonight's celebration, we will regroup and organise our team for our next game versus Myanmar. We will continue to work hard to iron out all the weaknesses... and hope to continue to perform well."


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline Late winner against Laos marks first success since 1985. Subscribe