Singapore have set up a date with Malaysia for the Hockey Gold medal after sweeping aside a Thailand squad who were determined to spoil the home side’s SEA Games campaign. Singapore, playing in white, managed 4 unanswered goals with a performance that embodied spirit and passion.
An uphill task awaited Solly Casoojee’s squad with only a win by three goals or more guaranteeing their spot in this year’s SEA Games final against Malaysia, who had earlier beaten Myanmar by two goals to nil. The stage was set, a packed house at the Sengkang Stadium was ready to support the home team.
Singapore could not have wished for a better start, a goal in the 5th minute resulting from a well worked penalty corner which was turned in by Sabri Yuhari. The pressure continued as Singapore had a spring in their step after the opening goal
Against the run of play, Thailand were awarded their first penalty corner, seemingly goal bound, keeper for the day, Iszuan, produced a top drawer save to keep his side’s lead intact.
Singapore continued to pile on the pressure throughout the first half with Ashriq being their brightest player. The forward pulled off some great runs and tricks which brought the stadium to its feet but the Thail defence somehow managed to hang on till half time.
Singapore went into the half time break one-nil to the good but it could have so much more.
The second half begun with a glorious chance for Thailand forward Warun but Iszuan’s pressure did enough for his opponent to scuff his shot, the keeper injuring himself in the process but he was able to continue.
Singapore had that same first half spring in their step, eventually resulting in a 2nd goal from another well worked penalty corner, this time turned in by Karleef Abdullah. The final was now in sight for Singapore.
As the rain came down, the game promised to produce a fantastic finish.
Finally, it was Singapore’s time to shine with two goals in quick succession, first Ashriq with a venomous shot that hit the back of the net via a deflection. And shortly after, another very well worked penalty corner resulted in Singapore’s fourth, the scorer this time was Haseef.
The spirited hosts then saw out the game in a very professional manner which guarantees them place in the finals of the 28th SEA Games, where they will face favourites Malaysia.