NAYPYIDAW - A partnership that has served Singapore so well over the years broke down when the team needed them most.
One moment of miscommunication between goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud and defender Safuwan Baharudin was all Thailand needed to pounce and score the lone goal to book themselves a spot in the SEA Games football final.
A seemingly harmless lofted ball was allowed to bounce in the penalty area. But when the Singapore duo, who have been mainstays in both the senior and Under-23 teams for the past few years, failed to talk and hesitated in clearing the ball, it spelt trouble.
A scramble ensued and when the ball broke to Thai midfielder Charyl Chappuis, all a desperate Madhu Mohana could do was hack down the Thai from behind.
Pravinwat Boonyong sent Izwan the wrong way from the resulting penalty for the game's only goal, dashing the Young Lions' hope of a maiden football gold.
Trailing for the first time in the tournament, Singapore looked shell-shocked and simply could not replicate their encouraging start at the Zayyathiri Stadium.
While the penalty was the turning point, the game was essentially lost in the first 10 minutes when Singapore spurned two gilt-edged opportunities.
With an attack that has sputtered throughout the campaign, the two chances were priceless opportunities to take the lead.
Winger Hafiz Abu Sujad will rue his scuffed shot when faced with just goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan to beat. Afiq Yunos also came agonisingly close with a header from a corner.
In fact, until the Thais struck in the 24th minute, their only real attempt at goal, Singapore were the better side.
But once they took the lead, they controlled the game - though not impressively so.
Playmaker Thitipan Puangchan initiated some quick one-touches with his forwards but when they failed to break through, they resorted to diagonal crosses that were easily dealt with by Izwan.