SINGAPORE (24 June 2012) – It was a day of contrast for the two Singapore teams on the opening day of the 24th edition of the Lion City Cup yesterday at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
As the Singapore NFA under-16 side clawed back to win 2-1 over AFC Ajax’s U15, the Singapore NFA U15 team fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Vasco Da Gama of Brazil.
Following a first-half deadlock, AFC Ajax grabbed the lead off Ezra Walian in the 45th minute after picking up the through pass from Vaclav Cerny. But the home team fought back with the equaliser with a Mahathir Azeman’s penalty in the 55th minute and then the winner through Zulfadhmi Suzliman, two minutes to the end taking advantage of a fast-tiring Dutch side.
“The result was never a concern. The boys did their best and as a result they won the game. I’m impressed with Ajax’s passing game, but our boys did really really well to win the game. It was a very good match,” said Dejan Gluscevic, the chief coach of Singapore NFA U16 side.
Countered Ajax’s team manager Robert Haarms: “I want to congratulate Singapore. It was a very entertaining game, and unfortunately the result was disappointing for us. However, I’m satisfied with the way we played, but we were not used to playing 40 minutes a game and as a result we lost out on fitness.”
In the meantime, there was no way back for the Singapore NFA U15 team when they stumbled to a 2-1 loss to CR Vasco da Gama in the second match of the day.
Luan Martins scored with a screamer just thirteen minutes into the game before Tauan Oliveira then doubled Vasco’s lead on 42 minute.
The Singapore side then pulled a goal back in the 46th minute through defender Amer Nasir although in the end, it was a tad too late to change the inevitable.
“I am very proud of my boys and they fought hard on the pitch. They never gave up despite conceding the early goal. They played up to my expectations. We certainly gave a better fight in the 2nd half. My players have a big heart which makes up for their small size on the pitch,” said Nazri Nasir, the coach for Singapore NFA U15.
Added Sergio Bello, head coach of Vasco da Gama: “we had a little bit more of an edge today on the match but we were up against very determined opponents. I am happy with my team’s performance too. And the Singapore side has good tactical players and I think they need more experience.”