| JAKARTA (15 July 2008) – Singapore put up a gutsy display on the fourth match day of the AFF Under-16 Youth Championships here at the Stadion Lebak Bulus when they held tournament favourites Australia to a 1-1 draw.
The Aussies went ahead in the 42nd minute of play through Kerem Bulut before Singapore replied from Muhammad Muhaymin Salim in the 46th minute.
“We created plenty of chances although we played better in the second half than we did in the first half,” said Martyn Crook, the head coach for Australia.
“But I have no problem with the score line as it showed to the players that we can slip up if we do not play well throughout the 90 minutes.”
The advantage of having the day off on the last match day gave Singapore the impetus and the confidence to start the game strongly with Muhammad Zainal Razali and Muhammad Muhaymin Salim combining well in the attack.
With Australia’s Tedros Alemaw Yabio missing out on a chance to go in front in the fifth minute, Singapore replied off G. Pravin in the 17th minute but his floater saw no takers.
Australian striker Kerem Bulut was working hard in the spaces but just can’t seem to get the last touch against Singapore custodian Muhammad Syazwan Buhari, who had a great game.
But with just three minutes remaining to the end of the first half, a corner from Koh Satake allowed Bulut to head in the lead as the Aussies went into the break on a 1-0 advantage.
Singapore came out more determined after the breather and it did not take them long to score the equaliser when Muhaymin blasted in the short pass from Danial.
Under pressure, Australia staged a flurry of attacks but just can’t seem to break down the resolute Singapore defence.
They created perhaps the best chance in the second half where in the 76th minute with Bulut delivering a grounder which came off the upright instead.
“We were lucky but at least, we got the one point,” added Masanaga Kageyama, the head coach for Singapore.
“Now, the players deserve to rest a bit before we prepare for the toughie against hosts Indonesia next.”
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE and RESULTS
CURRENT STANDINGS (After the Fourth Matchday)
1. AUSTRALIA 10pts (+12)
2. MALAYSIA 6pts (+3)
3. BAHRAIN 6pts (+2)
4. SINGAPORE 1pt (-3)
5. INDONESIA 0pt (-10)