SEA Games 2023: Young Lions mauled 7-0 by Causeway rivals Malaysia

For the first time since 1987, the Republic ended their campaign without a single victory.

Deepanraj Ganesan

Deepanraj Ganesan

The Straits Times


Singapore's Under-22 team went into the break 2-0 down and conceded five in the second half. PHOTO: FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION OF MALAYSIA

May 12, 2023

PHNOM PENH – Singapore suffered their worst defeat at the SEA Games football competition since 1971 after a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Causeway rivals Malaysia on Thursday.

The result at the Prince Stadium also meant that Singapore finished their 2023 SEA Games football tournament rock bottom in Group B, behind Laos on goal difference. For the first time since 1987, the Republic ended their campaign without a single victory.

Singapore’s worst defeat at the Games was an 8-1 loss to Burma at the 1971 event in Kuala Lumpur.

At the 1987 Indonesia Games, Singapore played only two matches. This time, they could not muster a win in four matches.

The SEA Games football competition became an age-group tournament since 2001, with this edition for Under-22s only.

The Young Lions suffered 3-1 losses to Group B opponents Thailand and Vietnam in their opening two matches, before settling for a 0-0 draw with Laos in their third match.

Singapore coach Philippe Aw said: “There was only one team in this game today and it was Malaysia. It was one-way traffic after we conceded.

“With regard to my future, it is not important at this current point. What we need to reflect on is, if we don’t do anything going forward, we will just get worse.

“For me, I have been given a task to do this job with my staff. We have given our best and, if it is not good enough, it’s OK, we can find the next person. Let’s look at the ecosystem, the process.

“I can step down and let someone else take over but we need to be fair to the next person who takes over.

“This has been ongoing for years. Let’s see how we can help the next person do this job better.”

Noting that they were “drawn into this group of death”, Aw noted that “the result shows where we are”.

He added: “The silver lining is that we have come in here and seen the difference in quality.

“I hope we go back and reflect and start doing things better and change for the better.”

On Thursday, Malaysia took a two-goal lead into half-time before scoring five more after the break. Malaysian midfielder Saravanan Thirumurugan bagged four goals.

The latest loss comes after the senior team’s 4–1 defeat by Malaysia at the 2022 AFF Championship in January in Kuala Lumpur.

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