Malaysia had to thank their lucky stars they survived the Singapore test when they beat the latter 2-1 in Group A of the AFF Vietcombank Under-19 Championship here at the Hang Day Stadium.
The win was Malaysia’s second after their win over the Philippines two days earlier while for Singapore, it was their first loss after the scoreless draw against hosts Vietnam.
“We did not prepare for this tournament at all and the condition of the players was not good,” said Malaysian head coach Frank Bernhardt.
“But we did just enough for the win today to survive the second half.”
Under humid weather condition, both teams trooped to the field looking for the full three points as they train an eye into the next round of the competition.
As Singapore seem to struggle somewhat under the autumn heat, it was Malaysia who foraged forward through the hardwork of Muhammad Zarulizwan Mazlan and Muhammad Syami Safari from either flank.
In the 15th minute, a long switch saw Muhammad Zarulizwan firing in from 20metres out to beat Singapore keeper Muhammad Adib Azahari to the far post.
Singapore finally woke up from their slumber with Muhammad Hami Syahin Said and Haiqal Pashia Anugrah coming close.
Just before the break, Malaysia notched their second goal off a fabulous solo effort from Muhammad Jafri Chew who turned a defender before slotting home past Muhammad Adib.
The introduction of Jordan Chan in the second half gave Singapore more pace as Malaysia began to tire. Always on the back foot, Malaysia found themselves under pressure as Singapore grew in confidence.
And five minutes to the end, they finally got the goal they were looking for when Muhammad Syahrul Sazali slammed in a freekick. But as they continued to chase, time was just not on their side as Malaysia heaved a heavy sigh of relief for their second full points of the competition.
“We made some mistakes in the first half but we improved in the second,” said Singapore head coach Inoue Takuya.