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Just like a "WESTLIFE" concert (Singapore 2-0 The Philippines)

I'm not sure how that sentiment started in the first place, but judging by the posting plastered online and heard from the grapevine, it seems that JBS would turn out become a "mini Manila" for the friendly fixture between Singapore and The Philippines.

True enough that majority turned out for the game were the expat Filipinos.

Just like most of the matches played earlier that involving any foreign team in recent months, the Pinoys were all in unison rhythm and voice (most of the time) that rocked the normally subtle JBS.

Honestly speaking from my perspective that both sides lacked the firepower upfront during the first half of the match.

Jason De Jong (21) in tussle with Hariss Harun (partially hidden)
While the Filipinos looked nippy at times on the flanks, but the combination of Daniel Bennett and Safuwan Baharudin did well to ward off the dangers, although the visitors did look one-dimensional in much of their offense (playing split defense passing that failed to unsettle the Lions backline).

Hariss (14): still has it despite away for NS obligation
However, much of credit much goes to Hariss Harun in adding that calmness in the middle in the park that was sorely missed in the last qualifiers against China and Iraq.

Duric and Isa Halim in a Lions' attacking play in second half.
The second half had the Lions kept status quo in remained as composed in quest of breaking the deadlock amid a resilient Azkal's defense that eventually came in the 51st minute when Shaiful Esah's deflected shot opened the account of the night.

Duric and skipper Shahril Ishak (left in red) celebrate the Lions' second goal.
Veteran striker Aleksandar Duric broke the hearts of the largely expat crowds when he outran his much younger marker to slot the ball past a hapless Neil Etheridge minutes later to seal the game for the hosts.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Lions' Coach Raddy Avramovic said: “I looked at this game as continuity from the two excellent matches against Malaysia, and I hoped that in this game, they will give us more confidence and belief in ourselves for the match against Jordan.’’

"In the first half, our attacks were cut from midfield and we couldn’t keep possession in the opponent’s half. And when you can’t do that, you cannot create chances, we then changed the positions of a few players during the break, and the team looked a lot better.” added the Serbian tactician

Shaiful Esah's (3) deflected effort opened the account of the evening
Azkals' coach Hans Weiss paid tribute his players who had to travel from Europe and other countries to play in this International Friendly. He added “They were tired and jet-lagged but they played well despite that fact. We were compact in the first half and played quite ok.”

“I warned my players of Singapore’s set pieces as they have a few variations and we were punished by Singapore’s No.3 Shaiful Esah. But we had a couple of chances in the second half but it was not enough.” said coach Weiss on thoughts of the first goal conceded by his team.

Nonetheless, to the largely Filipinos crowds the result meant secondary when it was a chance to get up close to their sporting idols who flew in for this international friendly.

Resembled any scene of a pop concert, screams from adoring fans were deafening the moments of the Azkals made their way out of their dressing room to their waiting coach.

Just a friend who remarked,"Are we at a 'WESTLIFE' concert?"


(Quotes from the coaches extracted from the FAS media release issued after the game.)


  1. Perhaps this thought from a member of the blog FB group sums up best for what we seen at JBS just now...

    "I think it is natural that the local expat community get excited when there is rare opportunity to get behind their nation in their country at work in a sporting event, while the local just dismiss it as just another "common" event."

  2. We have come a very long way. You probably will not have this friendly and definitely we will not ba able to watch this live on local television if not for the draw last year. '

    We'll take the 2-0 loss, hoping it will translate to better results in the future, starting with Tuesday's match versus fellow AFC Challenge Cup competitors Nepal.

    Good luck against Jordan.

    P.S. I know that girl in the picture. She'll love this. :)

  3. Hi John,

    Thanks for your feedback.. if you happen to know that lady friend of yours want a soft copy of her shot.. please drop me an email and advise which one of the shots, thanks


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