Lions lose to Japan
SINGAPORE 0 JAPAN 3
(Mu Kanazaki 20, Keisuke Honda 26, Maya Yoshida 87)
They may have lost 3-0 to Japan, but Singapore won a measure of respect from the tens of thousands at the National Stadium with their defiant display in Thursday (Nov 12) night's World Cup/Asian Cup Group E qualifier.
Even with Borussia Dortmund star playmaker Shinji Kagawa and Japan's current top-scorer Shinji Okazaki missing from their starting XI, the Samurai Blue were a class apart.
And there was to be no repeat of the heroic 0-0 draw the Lions managed to pull off in Japan.
Lions goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud prevented the visitors from taking an early lead but two quick-fire goals in the middle of the first half - Mu Kanazaki's left-footed shot in the 20th minute and Keisuke Honda's deflected effort six minutes later - effectively killed off the tie.
Singapore mustered only two shots at goal, both off-target headers, as Safuwan Baharudin nodded Izzdin Shafiq's header just wide in the 65th minute before substitute Sahil Suhaimi glanced wide from Faris Ramli's right-wing cross seven minutes later.
Southampton defender Maya Yoshida added the icing on the cake in the 87th minute when the Japanese pounced on a loose ball to score after his earlier shot was cleared off the line by Nazrul Nazari.
With the win, Japan moved to the top of Group E with 13 points from five games, while the Lions remain third with 10 points from six games.