Calcutta: India lost 0-2 to Singapore in a friendly at the Chao Chu Kang Stadium in Singapore on Tuesday. Khairul Amri and Fazrul Nawaz scored for the hosts in the 43rd and 49th minute respectively.
Despite being an away match, India started with a positive intent. They played numerous passes between themselves and used the flanks to good effect to build their attacks.
In the ninth minute, Mehtab Hussain broke into the Singapore box but rival defender Harris Harun was alert to scuttle Mehtab’s lob from inside the box. The very next minute, Clifford Miranda latched on a defensive lapse but Harun again managed to flick his centre at the last minute to prevent India captain Sunil Chetri from scoring.
However, much to the delight of the 3000-odd fans at the stadium, it was Singapore who surged into the lead in the 43rd minute. Khairul Amri intercepted a long ball down the right wing before making a good run to enter the box. He then placed the ball beautifully past an onrushing India custodian Subrata Paul to score the goal.
India got another chance in the next minute but Chetri failed to connect a Sanju Pradhan cross.
After the changeover, Singapore didn’t allow India to settle down and doubled the lead in the 49th minute as Fazrul Nawaz scored past a diving Paul.
To make matters worse, Chetri suffered a slight niggle and was eventually replaced by Robin Singh in the 62nd minute even as Jewel Raja also came in for Sanju Pradhan. Three minutes later, Gurwinder Singh came in for Raju Gaikwad. Robin tried to make an impact soon but his left-footed volley from the top box went straight to the rival goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.
With six substitutions allowed, coach Wim Koevermans brought in Anthony Pereira in the 77th minute in place of Clifford Miranda. Three minutes later, he made two more changes — Joaquim Abranches replacing Mehtab and Denzil Franco coming in place of Syed Rahim Nabi in the 80th minute.
However, the changes failed to yield a goal as the Singapore defence managed to hold firm.