| Rennedy scored in the 49th minute
Margao: Rennedy Singh’s 49th-minute strike helped India weather Singapore’s second-half aggression as they scored a solitary goal win in the Group 3 pre-World Cup home match at Nehru Stadium on Wednesday.
India controlled the match and played with vigour to dominate the first half and after missing four scoring chances, scored the all-important goal in the 49th minute when Rennedy converted a penalty.
The penalty was awarded after Ashim Biswas was brought down by Subramani Shunmugham inside the box and Rennedy made no mistake as he beat the goalkeeper to his left.
Singapore are placed 108th in Fifa rankings — well ahead of India on 139.
India should have won by a bigger margin had Bhaichung Bhutia and Alvito D’Cunha converted the chances that came their way. Alvito missed a sitter in the second half after hitting the post in the opening session.
Singapore, who were a disorganised lot in the first half, came back strongly in the second. They almost equalised midway but goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee dived to his left to keep away Tan Kum Leng’s left-footer.
The home team started well and played in unison with the midfield and defence combining well and providing a lot of balls for the forwards. They could have opened scoring in the second minute but Bhutia failed to capitalise on a chance following Alvito’s flag-kick.
The Indian skipper got another opportunity in the 24th minute following a move orchestrated by Sameer Naik and Biswas but failed to control the ball and was dispossessed by the rival defenders.
The Singapore midfielders, who looked out of sorts in the first half, got their act together after conceding the goal and started making moves down the flanks. But, they were thwarted by the Indian defence, where Dipak Mondal stood tall in the middle. India’s next match is also at home — against Oman in Kochi on March 31.
India: Sangram Mukherjee; Deepak Mondal, Mahesh Gawli, Debjit Ghosh; Climax Lawrence, Jo Paul Ancheri (S. Venkatesh), Alvito D’Cunha (Tomba Singh), Rennedy Singh (Subhas Chakraborty), Sameer Naik; Baichung Bhutia, Ashim Biswas.
Singapore: Hassan Sunny; Baihakki Khaizan, Aide Iskandar (Syed Fadhil), Bennett Daniel, Shanmugham Subramani; Tan Kim Leng, Muhammed Ridhuan, Ahmad Khamarudin, Mohammad Salleh (Mustaqim Ishak); Mohammed Alam Shah (Agu Casmir), Indra Sahdan Daud.
Referee: Yarebi Farajallah (Iran)
Japan win 1-0
Japan posted a 1-0 win over Oman in another Group 3 match in Saitama. Tatsuhiko Kubo scored the goal in injury-time. “We were lucky but we expected a very hard match from Oman,” said coach Zico. (Agencies)