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MD1 - Group D: Singapore 2-2 Yemen

Singapore: Faris Ramli’s second-half effort earned Singapore a share of the spoils on Thursday as the Southeast Asians drew 2-2 with Yemen in their opening Asian Qualifiers Group D match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

On a night of high drama at the Singapore National Stadium, Faris struck to ensure his side a point after Yemen’s Abdulwasea Al Matari and Mohsen Hasan had replied to Ikhsan Fandi’s early goal for the hosts.

Under the watchful gaze of recently installed head coach Tatsuma Yoshida, Singapore began brightly with Yemen goalkeeper Salem Saeed reacting superbly to keep out captain Hariss Harun’s seventh minute drive.

With Singapore continuing to dominate, Saeed was forced into action once again shortly after, this time denying Faris with yet another excellent stop.

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The breakthrough duly came on 27 minutes as neat approach play from Singapore saw Shakir Hamzah’s cross from the left headed home by striker Ikhsan.

Somewhat against the run of play, Yemen drew level in the 34th minute when Al Matari, allowed far too much time and space at the far post, drilled the ball past Singapore custodian Izwan Mahbud.

Safuwan Baharudin then headed Shahdan Sulaiman’s pinpoint free-kick straight at Saeed, before a clearly revitalised Yemen took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Nasser Al Gahwashi’s pass was converted with aplomb by Hasan.

Needing a response, Singapore drew level six minutes after the break. Saeed did well to initially stop Ikhsan’s shot but was then powerless to prevent Faris converting the rebound from 12 yards.

Not to be outdone, Yemen responded through a Hasan effort which flashed over the bar in the 70th minute, while Faris, in the last meaningful action of a fascinating encounter, brought another excellent save out of Saeed with 10 minutes remaining.

Singapore will continue their campaign on Tuesday when they host Palestine, with Yemen set to face Saudi Arabia in Bahrain on the same day.

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