28th SEA GAMES
Just moments earlier, the Singapore men's floorball team sat in the stands and watched as their female counterparts eked out a nerve-racking penalty shoot-out win over Thailand.
But if the sell-out crowd of 1,100 at ITE College Central expected a similarly tight affair in the men's final between the same two sides, they were mistaken.
Tellingly, when both sides met in the preliminary round, Singapore won 4-2, suggesting that the final might go to the wire.
But Singapore tore up the script, running riot as they put nine past Thailand with no reply.
Such was the hosts' dominance that, in the closing minutes, the boisterous home crowd, who did not stop cheering from the opening whistle, started chanting "we want 10 (goals)" repeatedly.
Said Singapore coach R. Saravanan: "Before the match, people came up to tell me 'please don't give us a heart attack like the girls'. Thankfully, we showed the spectators what we were capable of. We were just on fire."
Thailand coach Stefan Dahlgren bemoaned his side's poor start. Said the Swede: "If we had scored the first goal, the outlook would have been different."
Forward Rashid Jalaluddin opened the scoring for the hosts, netting from close range in the first period. But the visitors put up a good fight in what was a physical affair, and the score remained 1-0 at the break.
Said Saravanan: "Although we were 1-0 up, I told the boys we were playing to Thailand's level. That was unacceptable.
"There were some strong words in the dressing room."
Whatever was said had an impact as Alvin Tan, Abdul Hafiz Zubir and Lim Jian Hong put the hosts 4-0 up after the second period. It was one-way traffic in the third as Singapore pummelled the Thais with goals from Mckenrick Lim, Siraaj Ramadhan (two) and captain Syazni Ramlee.
Saravanan hopes the manner of victory will inspire more to pick up the sport, and continue Singapore's dominance in the region.
This article was first published on June 15, 2015.
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