Lions give roar of thanks to their fans
Coach Yoshida and his players say the 6,000 crowd were their 12th man in overcoming Palestine for their first win this campaign
On the eve of the match, new Lions coach Tatsuma Yoshida had declared that he wanted his side to win their World Cup qualifier against Palestine, but conceded that he would need help - from the 12th man.
Last night, at a sold-out Jalan Besar Stadium, both parties delivered in a 2-1 win for the hosts.
On the pitch, the Lions hustled and harried and turned in another exciting attacking display while being cheered on by the 6,011-capacity crowd who made their voices heard from the first whistle to the last.
he Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced on its Facebook page about four hours before kick-off that tickets for the match had been sold out. At the ground itself, snaking queues formed an hour before the game.
Said Yoshida at the post-match conference: "First, thank you very much to the fans for the support. I am very happy.
"We got the three points because of the support.
"There was a real good mood in the stadium and it allowed us to get a good start.
"Congratulations to my boys.
"They played very well and they played much better than before. I am really very happy."
Man-of-the-Match Hariss Harun echoed those sentiments, saying: "We are very happy and grateful that the fans came out in full voice... I hope the fans keep backing us... we will continue to do our best."
Perhaps it was the September school holidays or, more positively, perhaps it was the restoration of the belief in the national team under Yoshida.
Against Yemen last Thursday, the Lions were dominant against opponents who were superior on paper.
Many fans took to social media to commend the Lions for their more attacking approach.
It was fitting then that last night, the Lions' first goal came from the high pressing and attacking style that Yoshida has instilled in his charges.
Shakir Hamzah, starting out as left wing-back in a 3-5-2 formation, ventured up field and closed down on a Palestinian defender on the edge of the box.
The Kedah defender was rewarded for his persistence when he nicked the ball to fire past goalkeeper Rami Hamada.
There were only four minutes on the clock, but the fans would have already felt like they were getting more bang for their buck.
AGAINST RUN OF PLAY
As the Lions continued to carve out chances, Safuwan Baharudin went close but his header from Shahdan Sulaiman's free-kick was palmed away by the Palestine custodian.
Against the run of play, Palestine equalised in the 13th minute by capitalising on the Lions' failure to clear a corner.
Yaser Hamed was quickest to react as he knocked in the ball after it ran into his path.
The scoreboard read 1-1 but the fans' belief in the Lions did not waver.
They continued to roar from the stands and the Lions were more than happy to lap it up and continue at full throttle.
Singapore continued to pour forward with neat link-up play, just like against Yemen.
But it was a bit of a throwback in the 39th minute that brought them their second goal - and eventual winner - via a set-piece.
Shahdan's in-swinging corner was met expertly by Safuwan, who rose highest to head the ball in emphatically and send the Lions into the break with a 2-1 lead.
Palestine saw more of the ball in the second half as the Lions were happy to play on the counter.
But their attacks would more often than not be snuffed out by the three-man defence of Irfan Fandi, Safuwan and Amirul Adli, who stood tall all night.
Behind them, goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud delivered when called upon as well, reacting smartly to push away Islam Batran's shot when the Palestine forward was through on goal in the 69th minute.
When referee Yu Ming-hsun blew for full-time, the decibels in the stadium reached their peak for the night.
Keeping up the volume, fans and players then sang Majulah Singapura in unison.
Yoshida may not know the words to the anthem, but he will remember the moment when fans heeded his call and players gave their all.
Izwan Mahbud, Irfan Fandi, Safuwan Baharudin, Amirul Adli, Shakir Hamzah, Nazrul Nazari (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 86), Hariss Harun, Shahdan Sulaiman, Yasir Hanapi, Faris Ramli (Hafiz Nor 74), Ikhsan Fandi (Fareez Farhan 79)
Rami Hamada, Abdallah Jaber, Abdallatif Albahdari, Musab Battat, Mohammed Rashid (Mohammed Yamin 56), Mohammed Darwish, Nathmi Albadawi, Yaser Hamed, Mahmoud Wadi (Islam Batran 59), Oday Dabbagh, Tamer Seyam
- Guam 1 Philippines 4
- Cambodia 0 Bahrain 1
- Hong Kong 0 Iran 2
- Myanmar 0 Japan 2
- Indonesia 0 Thailand 3
- Malaysia 1 United Arab Emirates 2
- Turkmenistan 0 South Korea 2
- Sri Lanka 0 North Korea 1