Hosts Singapore out of SEA Games after shock 1-0 defeat to Indonesia
Singapore were unceremoniously dumped out of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games football competition after a 1-0 defeat to Indonesia in front of their home fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
The Games' hosts had high hopes of winning the gold medal for the first time but nothing seemed to work for Aide Iskandar's men who went down to an Evan Dimas goal early in the second half.
Indonesia will now face Thailand in Saturday's semifinals, despite a FIFA ban which precludes their senior team from taking part in AFC 2018 World Cup qualifying.
With so much at stake, both teams came out looking to stamp their authority on the game. With some robust challenges flying in from both teams, there was a flurry of yellow cards dished out by South Korean referee Kim Hee Gon.
It took the home team 10 minutes to register their first shot when Stanely Ng laid the ball into the path of Pravin Guanasagaran who sprayed it high and wide.
It was Indonesia's turn to have a go 11 minutes later when Adam Alis Setyano rifled a powerful shot that caught Syazwan Buhari by surprise. The Singapore goalkeeper needed two attempts to gather it on a slippery surface.
The Young Garudas almost took the lead in the 24th minute when Paulo Aktavanius' cross was helped on by Muchlis Hadi Ning, only to see Evan Dimas fail to connect at the critical moment.
Evan and Ahmad Nufiandi's short one-two on 34 minutes saw the latter belt a thunderbolt that needed Syzwan to pull off a superb save to keep the scores level.
It was back to the familiar formula of introducing 17-year-old Irfan Fandi in the second half, along with Malaysia FA Cup winner Faris Ramli, in the hope of giving Singapore some attacking impetus.
Despite Aide's bold tactics, it was the visitors who snatched a deserved lead barely two minutes into the second half, as Evan Dimas picked up his fourth goal of the tournament.
Striker Muchlis Hadi Ning surged down the right, making his way into the box before cutting the ball back for an advancing Evan to curl it into an empty net.
Singapore almost got an instant response when Faris' cross found Sahil totally unmarked, but Teguh Amiruddin went down swiftly to push the forward's header away.
The Garudas had a golden opportunity to double the lead in the 57th minute. However, Nufiandani failed to latch onto Evan's through ball to leave Singapore with a chance back into the game.
Right-back Syaiful Indra Cahya was next to have a pop at goal when his free kick was destined for the net only for Syazwan to palm it away to save the day.
It was all Indonesia at that point with Nufiandani once again foiled by Syazwan after receiving a lovely through pass from Aktavanius.
Ho Wai Loon complicated matters for the home side when he got his marching orders on 65 minutes, chopping Dimas with a late challenge from behind.
Aji Santoso's team comfortably held onto their lead against 10 men against a Young Lions side who never looked comfortable under home pressure throughout the tournament.
With Indonesia taking on defending champions Thailand on Saturday, Vietnam face up to Myanmar on the same day.
The gold medal match will take place on Monday at the Singapore National Stadium.
Singapore: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Ho Wai Loon, M. Anumanthan, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Al-Qaasimy Rahman (C), Pravin Guanasagaran, Adam Swandi, Stanely Ng (Faris Ramli 45'), Safirul Sulaiman, Amy Recha (Irfan Fandi 45'), Sahil Suhaimi (Suria Prakash 70')
Indonesia: Teguh Amiruddin (GK), Abduh Lestaluhu (Vava Mario 71'), Agung Prasetyo, Manahati Lestusen (C), Syaiful Indra Cahya, Adam Alis Setyano, Evan Dimas, Zulfiandi Zulfiandi, Paulo Aktavianus (Hansamu Yama 67'), Ahmad Nufiandi, Muchlis Hadi Ning