Lau Yun Yi's early brace dampens spirit of Lionesses as defeat against tough opponents spell out the challenges ahead of AFF Women's Championship
Singapore's Putri Nur Syaliza (in red) dribbles past Hong Kong's Tsang Lai Mae Halasan. PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG
Singapore, 23 June 2022 - Singapore fell to Hong Kong as the visitors won 4-0 in Thursday evening’s international friendly at Jalan Besar Stadium. Lau Yun Yi scored twice in quick succession, while Wong So Han and Leung Hong Kiu Anke killed off all hopes of a Singapore fightback in the second half.
The battle against the side that sits 54 places higher in the world rankings was a tough but much needed one as preparations for the AFF Women’s Championship in two weeks' time ramp up for the Lionesses.
Singapore's Stephanie Dominguez (right) does battle in the middle of the park with Hong Kong's Tsang Pak Tung. PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG
Hong Kong were relentless in their attack from the first whistle and wreaked havoc for Singapore in their half. It took only 11 minutes for the visitors to find the opening goal. Lau pounced on a loose ball after veteran goalkeeper, Noor Kusumawati saved Hong Kong’s initial shot on goal.
Just two minutes later, deja vu hit Jalan Besar Stadium as Lau scored a second in similar fashion. From close range, she pummeled the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Lila Tan of Singapore holds off a challenge from Hong Kong's Wong So Han at Jalan Besar Stadium. PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG
The battles in midfield were fought hard as Stephanie Dominguez’s tenacity was applauded each time she won her 50-50 challenges while Putri Syaliza faced-off against Tsang Lai Mae Halasan on the right flank to make for a mouth-watering and entertaining watch.
The 46th minute saw Nur Izzati and Nur Umairah Hamdan come on to freshen up both the back and front lines. Despite the fresh legs, Hong Kong extended their lead in the 53rd minute through Wong. Running onto a lob perfectly delivered by her teammate, Wong slotted it past Kusumawati and into the side netting.
Dorcas Chu of Singapore contests for the ball with Hong Kong's Tsang Lai Mae Halasan. PHOTO: FAIZAL BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG
Not long after, Izzati’s hunger for the ball began causing problems for Hong Kong’s defence. The Lion City Sailors striker scrambled with the defenders and goalkeeper, Ng Cheuk Wai right in front of goal. Despite being on the ground, she wrapped her foot around the ball but the shot strayed wide. The energy was on the up, and the Singapore Brigade could be heard loud and clear.
In the 83rd minute, Dorcas Chu chipped a hopeful through ball on for Izzati but Ng's risky decision to run out of her box was rewarded as she saved Izzati's shaky shot . With two minutes to go, Hong Kong delivered the final blow to The Lionesses when Chan’s free kick from the right wing was headed in by Leung. Despite the scoreline, Satu Nada echoed throughout the stadium to drown out Hong Kong’s celebrations.
Singapore Women's football team photo ahead of kick-off. PHOTO: HANA BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG
Stephen Ng’s side was physically up to the challenge, but the difference in close control and the ability to stay calm under pressure gave Hong Kong the win. The young side had plenty of uncapped players, with players such as Irsalina Irwan, only 15 years of age, making her debut for the Senior national team. The Lionesses have three days to regroup before they take on Hong Kong once again on Sunday.
Striker Danelle Tan was an unused substitute in last night's match against Hong Kong. PHOTO: HANA BASIR, SPORTPLUS.SG