Hassan heroics fail to save Singapore from AFF Suzuki Cup exit

MANILA -- Hassan Sunny was the star performer on Friday, but his heroics were not enough to save Singapore from elimination from the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup, following a 2-1 loss to Indonesia at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Having initially edged ahead through a spectacular strike from Khairul Amri, the Lions undid their good work as they twice went to sleep allowing strikes from Andik Vermansyah and Stefano Lilipaly.

The defeat meant V. Sundramoorthy's side finished bottom of Group A, with just one point from their three matches, while Indonesia rose from the dead to join Thailand in the semifinals.


Many would feel there would be few positives to take from the performance, but the Lions actually showed they can be an effective team going forward as they gave Indonesia plenty to think about.

There were also a handful of standout individuals throughout the the tournament, but they weren't enough to prevent a second straight AFF group stage exit.


Regardless of how tough their opponents were, failing to win a game is still disappointing for a side who share the record of four AFF titles with Thailand.

Singapore looked extremely good when they were ahead but, when things got tough, several players went into their shells, rather than rising to the occasion.

The lack of hunger shown, against a side they could have beaten, is cause for real concern.

Manager rating out of 10

7 --- For the first 45 minutes, Sundram's game plan worked to perfection. The Lions were restricting Indonesia to shots from distance, showed good energy going forward, and even netted their first goal of the tournament. However, through two lapses of concentration from his usually reliable defenders, the Lions are out and Indonesia are through to the last four.

Player ratings (1-10; 10= best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hassan Sunny, 7.5 -- Widely regarded as Southeast Asia's best goalkeeper, along with Thailand's Kawin Thamsatchanan, Hassan is one of the few Singapore players who can leave Manila with his head held high. Again on Friday, he thwarted the opposition with a series of fine saves to deny Lilipaly, Boaz Solossa and Zulham Zamrun, and was at little fault for the two goals he conceded.

DF Faritz Hameed, 6 -- Having been one of the surprise packages of the Singapore team having been given the nod at right-back and impressing, Faritz ended the tournament with a tough outing. He was constantly troubled by the pace and trickery of Rizki Pora, and it was down his flank where Indonesia exposed the Singaporeans for both goals.

DF Madhu Mohana, 6.5 -- It was his long throw that led to Singapore's opener, and Madhu can be satisfied with his overall display. However, both he and centre-back partner Daniel Bennett will perhaps feel they could have reacted better to Boaz's cross that led to Lilipaly's winner, having looked to have switched off after assuming the ball was going out of play.

DF Daniel Bennett, 7 -- Along with Hassan, Singapore's best player of the tournament - a remarkable feat given he was initially written off at the age of 38. Defended stoutly, as he has for all three games, and showed great desire to get stuck in and race back when Indonesia looked to hit on the counter. But would be bitterly disappointed about the second Indonesian goal.

DF Shakir Hamzah, 6 -- Going forward, Shakir did a good job and, as ever, he put in a tireless shift down the left. Nonetheless, he will have to shoulder some of the blame for Indonesia's first goal given Andik, his direct opponent, had been left completely unmarked to volley home Rizki's left-wing delivery.

MF M. Anumanthan, 6.5 -- It is hard to find fault with Anumanthan's display. He stuck to the task that was given to me and the future looks bright for the 22-year-old. Will play in many more AFF Championships.

MF Hariss Harun, 7 -- Hariss has shown signs of fatigue throughout the tournament following a long season with Johor Darul Ta'zim. However, when the game was there for the taking -- especially after Merah Putih equalised -- Hariss showed the greatest determination to try to get his side back in front.

MF Safuwan Baharudin, 6 -- Another disappointing outing for one of Singapore's most influential players. Safuwan won his fair share of headers -- one was the assist for Amri's goal -- but, just like he did against the Thais, could have showed more composure in possession. Also wasted a great chance in the 80th minute when he sent a header over from six yards out after comfortably beating Abduh Lestaluhu in the air.

MF Yasir Hanapi, 6.5 -- Given the nod from the start, Yasir was a bright spark down the right especially in the first half, and even showed good skill to leave Benny Wahyudi for dead on one occasion. Never stopped running but his touch and distribution let him down at times.

MF Faris Ramli, 6 -- This game probably summed up Faris' career thus far. A brilliant touch, and exquisite through-pass, saw him release Amri for Singapore's best chance to double their lead. But when he was not involved in the play, Faris struggled to track back and offer Shakir protection -- an area of his game he will need to improve on.

FW Khairul Amri 7 -- After two matches where he had the thankless task of playing as a lone striker up front, Amri finally got his reward with a lovely strike as he met Safuwan's flick-on header with an acrobatic volley past Kurnia Meiga. But wasted a great chance to make it 2-0 at the start of the second half after being sent through by Faris and firing straight at Meiga, which may have killed the game off.


FW Shahril Ishak, NR -- Shahril was introduced in the 76th minute and showed his quality with an exquisite cross from the right that caused havoc in the Indonesia box. Might even have had a greater impact if he had been given more of the ball.

MF Shahfiq Ghani, NR --Thrown on by Sundram with six minutes remaining, probably for his set piece prowess. Unfortunately, the Lions did not have many free kicks and corners from there on to utilise his left foot.

MF Gabriel Quak, NR -- Was brought on for his first appearance of the tournament in added time, but had minimal time to make an impact.