SEA Games: Lionesses beaten 3-0 by Thailand in first Games outing since 2003

The world No. 43 Thais dominated proceedings from the start. PHOTOS: FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF THAILAND

SINGAPORE - After nearly two decades, the Lionesses returned to the pitch at the SEA Games on Tuesday (May 10) but were handed a tough test by five-time champions Thailand, losing the tie 3-0.

The world No. 43 Thais dominated proceedings from the start at the Cam Pha Stadium in Quang Ninh, Vietnam, carving out a number of chances in the opening few minutes.

It took them just seven minutes to open the scoring when forward Kanyanat Chetthabutr headed Silawan Intamee's pass over Singapore goalkeeper Noor Kusumawati Rosman.

They added a second ten minutes later as Nutwadee Pram-nak collected the ball outside the penalty box before slamming it into the back of the net. Charchawan Rodthong then made it three for Thailand in the 21st minute from a corner.

Noor Kusumawati pulled off several saves to stop the Thais from extending their lead and the Lionesses turned in an improved performance in the second half as they kept their rivals at bay.

Singapore captain Ernie Sulastri Sontaril said: “We knew that Thailand was going to be tough but with our team effort and spirit, we believed we could close them down and keep it to a narrow margin.”

The Thais are one of the teams to watch at the Hanoi Games and they will be out for blood in their bid to wrest the SEA Games crown away from Vietnam, who have pipped them to the title in the last two editions of the competition.

The last time Thailand, who featured at the 2015 and 2019 editions of the Women's World Cup, won the gold was in 2013.

Vietnam and Thailand are the only two nations to have won the women's football title at the SEA Games, with six and five gold medals respectively.

Singapore's national women's team play Laos (83) next on Friday, before taking on Myanmar (45) on Sunday.

At the Lionesses' last SEA Games outing in 2003, they were also grouped with Thailand and finished third in the three-team group.

Hailing Tuesday’s match as a “special moment”, Singapore head coach Stephen Ng said the team will be looking to bounce back with a victory over world no. 83 Laos.

He said: “We want to continue our development to play at the higher level and will work hard for a win against Laos on Friday.”

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