SINGAPORE (25 July 2011) – Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia stride confidently into the second leg of the second round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers while ASEAN neighbours Vietnam and Malaysia will have it tough to overturn the deficit in the return tie.
Singapore beat Malaysia 5-3 in the match that was played at the Jalan Besar Stadium while Thailand scored a close 1-0 win over Palestine at home in Buriram as Indonesia carved a hard fought 1-1 draw against Turkmenistan on the road.
Vietnam were blanked 3-0 by Qatar at the Sheikh Jassem Stadium in Doha while Philippines fell to a 3-0 loss to Kuwait away from home.
In front of a crowd of just over 6,000 and on an artificial turf at the Jalan Besar, it was the visiting Malaysian side who went ahead just 25 seconds into the game when striker Mohd Safee Sali blasted home.
Singapore veteran striker Aleksandar Duric then drew level for the Lions seven minutes later as Qiu Li then got on the score sheet in the 21st minute. The score at the half was 4-1 in favour of the home team following goals from Mustafic Fahrudin (44th minute) and Shi Jiayi (45th minute).
Despite losing captain, Safiq Rahim to a red card just four minutes into the second half, the Malaysians fought back with goals from Abdul Hadi Yahaya and Safee Sali in the 68th and 69th minute respectively.
Duric then completed his brace at the end of the match.
“It was a really exciting match to watch for the supporters from both sides. What happened was that we really wanted to win the game. The first-half in some ways, we used our heads more than our emotions,” said Radojko Avramovic, the chief coach of Singapore.
“In the second half, one moment of concentration cost us. All players gave their 100% and you can see that they are all very tired when the match ended.”
At the new I-Mobile Stadium in Buriram, Thailand edged Palestine 1-0 with the only goal of the game coming off Jakkraphan Buathong’s shot which hit Palestine defender Abdellatif Bahdari as the ball deflected into his own net in the 19th minute.
A missed penalty in injury time from Suchao Nutnum prevented Thailand from taking a comfortable advantage for the return tie.
“The second match will not be easy because Thailand will have to play on an artificial pitch,” said Thailand coach Winfried Schaefer. “But I am still confident that we will advance to the next round.”
Indonesia on the other hand, were all too satisfied with their 1-1 away draw to Turkmenistan in Ashgabat, with goals coming off Vyacheslav Krendelev’s free kick in the 11th minute which was erased later by Muhammad Ilham in the 30th minute.
“We’re very happy with the result. But it’s not over yet,” said Wim Rijsbergen, the chief coach of Indonesia. “The boys have to play harder in the home leg at Jakarta ( at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium).”
In the meantime, the Philippines will be hoping that the return of midfielder Stephan Schrock for the second leg match in Manila will give the team more bite.
The Azkals fell to a 3-0 loss to Kuwait in the first leg.
“He will be a big boost to the team,” said Dan Palami, the Philippines’ team manager of Schrock, who was suspended for the first leg.
Aly Borromeo is also expected to return after serving his suspension.
“We have a tough job in Manila because of that 0-3 deficit,” said Palami. “If only we could have a complete line-up for Manila. Anything is still possible if we get an early goal and with the crowd behind us.”
With nothing to lose for the return match, Vietnam will be pulling all stops for the game that will be played at the My Dinh National Stadium as they look to overcome a 3-0 deficit against Qatar.
“The boys gave their best and fought till the end. But they committed some terrible mistakes, which allowed Qatar to score goals,” Goetz reacted to the result. “We’ll try our best when we play at home as we have nothing to lose.”
Qatar took a big step for a place in the third round when Mohammed Kasola scored the opener in the sixth minute to be followed by goals from Mishal Mubarak (51st minute) and Yousef Ahmed (68th minute) at the Sheikh Jassem Stadium in Doha.
Laos conceded a 7-2 loss to China.
The second leg match of the second round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers will be played on 28 July 2011.