Singapore beat Malaysia 5-3 in their first leg Asian Zone World Cup qualifier match at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.
The Tigers scored the first goal barely 24 seconds after the opening whistle through Mohd Safee Mohd Sali but the Lions equalised soon after.
Their relentless attack earned them a freekick just outside the box in the seventh minute. Aleksandar Duric converted the free kick to level the score 1-1.
After that, it was no looking back for the Lions as they scored their second, third and fourth goals to lead Malaysia 4-1 at half time.
In the second half, Malaysia came back to score two more goals to reduce Singapore’s lead to 4-3.
But the Lions scored their fifth goal through Duric to win the match 5-3.
With the win, a tougher challenge awaits Malaysia on their return leg in Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur next week.
Malaysian head coach K Rajagobal said after the match: “We know the mistakes and there is no way that we can do this again if we want to do something in Bukit Jalil, which I think will be very different. When my players can put that energy in when they were 4-1 down, I don’t see why the players should not have the confidence and hope for a turnaround.”
Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic praised the energy and effort shown by both sides.
Scorers: Singapore – Aleksandar Duric (8, 81); Qiu Li (22); Mustafic Fahrudin (44); Shi Jiayi (45)
Malaysia – Mohd Safee Mohd Sali (1, 71); Abdul Hadi Yahaya (70)