Azkals Lose To Singapore In Semis in 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup

Singapore’s Khairul Amri, the Lions’ 2006-2007 “Player of the Year,” made the lone goal of the game at the 19th minute. With several attempts to land a shot, the Philippine team tried very hard to equalize the game at the second half to no avail. A non-goalless draw could have put the opponent in trouble and would have secured the Azkals a finals berth. Khairul Amri fired home the only goal of a tight contest as three-time champions Singapore booked their place in the AFF Suzuki Cup final with a 1-0 victory over the Philippines at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday. The striker, who netted the winner for the Lions in their 2007 final triumph against Thailand, emerged as the hero once again when he was left unmarked on a quickly-taken free-kick by Shahdan Sulaiman in the 19th minute and fired home his second goal of the competition to give his side a 1-0 aggregate win. The Lions dominated the opening half but the Philippines improved after the break although they rarely threatened to find an equaliser against the well-drilled Singapore defence. Singapore will now meet either three-time champions Thailand or 2010 winners Malaysia in the AFF Suzuki Cup final with the first leg at Jalan Besar on December 19 and the second leg in Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur on December 22. The other semi-final is still finely poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday with the return game at Bangkok’s Supachalasai Stadium on Thursday. Despite leading the Philippines to their second consecutive appearance in the last four of the AFF Suzuki Cup, coach Michael Weiss has admitted that there is still much work to be done before the country can be regarded as a real Asean footballing power. Once the whipping boys of the competition, the Azkals face Singapore at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday in the second leg of their semi-final, knowing that they have the chance to make history as they could become the first Filipino side to reach the final of the regional competition, which has traditionally been dominated by Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, who have contested all eight of the previous finals between them.
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