Singapore kickstarted their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign with an assertive 4-0 victory over Cambodia in front of one of the biggest crowds seen at the Olympic Stadium in recent memory.
Cambodia found Singapore’s attacking flair too much to handle, and the Lions led 3-0 by the break, adding another early on in the second half to cap a dominant display.
“We are playing Japan in four days and Syria soon after so it was important to win against Cambodia,” Singapore coach Bernd Stange said. “We dominated all the way. We were no doubt the better team. It is so difficult to play in front of massive crowd like this; we deserved to win,” he said.
Cambodia’s coach Kazunori Ohara said: “The early goal put us under tremendous pressure and that made the task very difficult.”
It was as if the Lions could do nothing wrong and Cambodia nothing right as the home side began on the wrong foot in allowing an early Singapore strike.
The visitors lost no time in asserting their attacking superiority with a ninth minute strike by Kairul Amri Bin Muhammed Kamal, who found an opening between two defenders and was too close to goal to miss.
Minutes later he came up with a back-heeled pass to the onrushing Safuwan Bin Baharuddin, who unleashed a terrific shot into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box, giving no chance for Cambodian goalkeeper Sou Yaty.
As Singapore kept mounting pressure on the Warriors’ backline, Cambodia were finding it increasingly hard to get their counterattacks going – indeed, there was hardly a moment of anxiety for the Singapore defence.
Even the couple of set pieces Cambodia stumbled on were wasted. With Cambodian backs firmly against the wall, Baharuddin inflicted another telling blow, this time with a firm header from a long ball delivered right into the box and Singapore were riding high.
There was no respite for Cambodia after the break. Minutes after failing to give the right direction to a well weighted cross, Shahul Hameed made ample amends by storming in to hit Singapore’s fourth goal in the 55th minute.
As the match wore on, Cambodia were thankful they were able to survive further close shaves.