MD6 - Group D: Yemen 1-2 Singapore
Muharraq: Singapore held off a late Yemen fightback to score a 2-1 in their Asian Qualifiers Group D tie on Tuesday.
Ikhsan Fandi gave Singapore the lead in the first half before a Mohammad Hafiz Nor stunner after the break secured three points for Tatsuma Yoshida's charges at the Sheikh Ali Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium.
The win took Singapore into third place on seven points, with Uzbekistan (9) and Saudi Arabia (8) ahead of the Southeast Asian side.
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Yemen dominated the early proceedings and had the first look at goal in the 11th minute through Ahmed Al Sarori’s long-range effort which forced goalkeeper Mohamad Izwan Mahbud into a fingertip save.
The West Asians continued to press their opponents and went close to scoring seven minutes later through Mudir Abdurabu Al Radaei’s free-kick but Izwan was up to the challenge.
Singapore responded in the 19th minute through Ikhsan Fandi who volleyed home Shahdan Sulaiman’s corner.
Ikhsan almost doubled his tally a minute later with Shahdan again the provider, but the forward flashed his header over the bar.
Yemen continued to assert their dominance in the game and came close to scoring at the half-hour mark but Ahmed Maher couldn’t find the target with his effort from a distance.
Mufeed Gamal then forced a fingertip save from Izwan as Yemen wasted several goal-scoring opportunities going into the break.
Yemen started the second half with renewed confidence and almost found the back of the net in the 48th minute with Omar Abdullah Al Dahl firing just over the bar following a swift counter-attacking move.
Singapore, however, were quick to respond and extended their lead four minutes later courtesy of Mohammad Hafiz Nor, who curled in a superb effort from inside the area following Hariss Harun’s assist.
Irfan then saw a chance go to waste in the 61st minute when he failed to connect with Shahdan’s free-kick from the left as Singapore began to dominate possession.
Abdulwasea Al Matari nearly pulled one back for Yemen in the 76th minute but his finishing left much to be desired.
The forward, however, pulled one back 10 minutes later when he beat the offside trap before side-stepping Izwan to slot home into an empty net.
Yemen will face Saudi Arabia next on March 26, while Singapore will play Palestine.
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