S'pore U-23s fall in Kuantan

S'pore U-23s fall in Kuantan

A first-half goal by Pakorn Prempak was enough to consign Singapore's Under-23s to their second successive defeat at the Merdeka Tournament in Kuantan on Monday.

The 0-1 defeat by a Thailand selection, coupled with the Malaysian U-23s' 2-1 win over their Myanmar counterparts later in the evening, ended any hopes V. Sundramoorthy's charges had of reaching Saturday's final.

But the margin of defeat could have been greater for a Young Lions side missing goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, full-backs Faritz Abdul Hameed and Shakir Hamzah, centre-back Safuwan Baharudin, midfielder Hariss Harun and forward Shahfiq Ghani - all of whom are away with the national team.

With the clock running down, striker Pakorn - of Thai Premier League outfit Police United - rattled Neezam Aziz's crossbar following a quick counter-attacking move.

Goalkeeper Neezam, 22, was deputising for Izwan and Courts Young Lions custodian Syazwan Buhari, who had to return to Singapore owing to national service commitments.

Faris Ramli and Raihan Abdul Rahman, meanwhile, had the best chances for Singapore, who had coach Sundram sent to the stands 11 minutes from the end for remonstrating with the referee.

Despite suffering back-to-back 0-1 losses to their rivals from Thailand and Malaysia, involvement in the week-long tournament will provide the Young Lions with invaluable experience ahead of December's SEA Games in Myanmar.

They round off their group-stage campaign against Myanmar's U-23s on Wednesday, with the final and third-place play-off scheduled for Saturday.


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