Singapore kicks off APG with a bang!

Last minute goal gives Singapore first victory

Singapore clinched the first victory on home soil as the national cerebral palsy football team overcame a dogged Indonesian side 1-0 with a goal in the last minute of the game.

The visitors denied attack after attack but finally crumbled in the last minute of the game to a powerful low drive by Singapore skipper Khairul Anwar, 29, to delirious celebrations by the Singapore supporters. The home side struggled to impose itself on the game early on against a hardworking and disciplined Indonesian team. Despite controlling the bulk of the possession, Singapore was unable to make it count in the final third and was only able to threaten from long range. In what was to be a preview of the winning goal, Singapore’s Khairul picked up the ball in the 11th minute bringing it just beyond the centre line and sent a dipping shot that narrowly went wide of the goal.

IMG_0021Buoyed by home support Singapore continued pressing forward but was continuously thwarted by Indonesia’s Adi Joko Saputra. Sitting just in front of his defence, Saputra, 24, snapped at the heels of Singapore’s midfielders and marked the mercurial Muhammad Mubarak, 23, out of the game in the first half. Despite their dogged defending, Indonesia was toothless in attack as they couldn’t create a clear cut chance up front as the two sides go into the break deadlocked.

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Indonesia was clearly running out of steam by the second half racking up foul after foul against the home side in a bid to slow them down and break the rhythm of the game. With the clocks ticking, Indonesia looked like they have earned a draw against the hosts especially with their goalkeeper, Amin Rosyid, in inspiring form. Rosyid single handedly kept the scoreline modest with making a crucial save in the 56th minute. Mubarak did well to dribble into the box from the left and was through on goal with only Rosyid to beat. But the 24-year-old custodian kept his focus and impressively parried Mubarak’s shot for a corner. With the Indonesians flagging, the breakthrough for Singapore finally came in the last minute of the game. Latching onto a counter attack down the right, Muhammad Shahidil tore down the flanks before sending the cross to second-half substitute Muhammad Taufiq.

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Taufiq picked up the ball at the edge of the box, turned his marker and laid it off for skipper Khairul, who was lurking just in front of the centre circle. With a defender breathing down his neck, Khairul unleashed a left-footed drive into the bottom corner of the goal, sinking to his knees before running to the Singapore bench to wild celebrations.

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Photos and article by: stefanusian.com

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