India held to 1-1 draw by Singapore

India dished out a dominating performance but failed to notch up a win, playing out a 1-1 draw against lower-ranked Singapore in their FIFA international friendly match in the Hung Thinh Tournament here on Saturday.

Ikhsan Fandi put Singapore ahead in the 37th minute when his free-kick from about 25 yards out took a deflection off the Indian wall and beat a diving goalie Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who could lay a hand on the ball but failed to stop it from entering the net.

Singapore’s joy lasted jut six minutes as Ashique Kuruniyan equalised in the 43rd minute off an assist from captain Sunil Chhetri.

Jeakson Singh made an interception in the Singapore half, passed the ball to Chhetri, who put Kuruniyan through on goal. Kuruniyan calmly slotted the ball home with a left-footed grounder which beat Singapore goalie and captain Hassan Sunny.

India are currently ranked 104th while Singapore are at 159th. The last time the two sides met each other in 2012, Singapore had won 2-0.

Singapore had lost 0-4 to hosts Vietnam in their first match.

As expected senior player Sandesh Jhingan and his defensive partner Chinglensana Singh didn’t feature in the match as they reached here only on Friday. They did not accompany the team which flew out of India on Tuesday night due to travel document related issues.

Singapore were the more attacking side in the early stages of the match and they had a good chance in the 15th minute. Ikshan Fandi was played through behind the Indian defence, but his first touch off the high ball was too heavy and defender Anwar Ali cleared it for a corner and averted the danger.

India settled down nicely, and Liston Colaco was on target in the 19th minute, when he fired in a long range shot, only to see Singapore goalie Sunny make a fine save.

Gurpreet made a fine save in the 25th minute as Fandi leaped high and headed a cross towards India goal.

Two minutes later, Kuruniyan was on to the Singapore goal but he could not make the final touch from near the post, even as Chhetri was waiting.

The second half saw India dominating the match with more attacks.

Kuruniyan’s powerful left-footer in the 49th minute was somehow saved by the Singaporean goalie while Chetri’s shot from just outside the box, two minutes later, missed the target by a whisker.

India play hosts Vietnam in their last match of the friendly tournament on Tuesday.

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