Singapore: India failed to maintain their recent impressive form as they went down 0-2 to Singapore in their international football friendly match here on Tuesday.

India were clearly the better side in the opening half but they conceded a goal in the 43rd minute, scored by Khairul Amri, against the run of play and from then onwards the visitors were just doing the the catch-up job.

Wim Koevermans' boys were expected to come hard but again they let in another goal soon after resumption of play to make their hopes of a comeback much more difficult.

Fazrul Amri fired in Singapore's second goal in the 49th minute in the match played at the Chao Chu Kang Stadium in front of 3000 spectators which had a large proportion of Indian supporters.

Coming into the match with their confidence on a high after their recent Nehru Cup triumph, the Indians, however, lacked fighting spirit as they could not lift themselves up from the first goal jolt.

This was the first defeat for the Indian team outside home under Koevermans and second loss under the Dutch coach after the one against Cameroon in the league stage of the Nehru Cup.

India, ranked 168th in the world and who were playing their first international friendly on a FIFA date after a long time, dominated the first half and pressed hard for an early goal by switching flanks but they failed to get the desired result.

Captain Sunil Chhetri, Clifford Miranda and Sanju Pradhan combined well to make some dangerous moves but did not get a clear opening.

Chhetri, who recently signed for Portuguese top side Sporting Lisbon's B team was not at his best. He also suffered a slight niggle during the match and was eventually replaced by Robin Singh just after the hour mark.

In the ninth minute, Mehtab Hossain broke into the Singapore box but rival defender Harris Harun recovered in time to scuttle his cross from inside the box.

The very next minute, Miranda latched on a defensive lapse but Harun managed to flick his centre at the last minute to prevent Chhetri from pulling the trigger.

Much against the run of play, Singapore surged into the lead in the 43rd minute when Khairul Amri intercepted a clearance down the right, entered the box and placed it past an advancing Indian goalkeeper Subrata Pal.

Almost immediately, India had another chance but Pradhan's cross agonisingly missed Chhetri's head.

Changing over, Singapore did not allow India to settle down and doubled the score in the 49th minute, Fazrul Nawaz putting it past a diving Pal.

To make matters worse for India, Chhetri suffered a slight niggle and was replaced by Robin Singh in the 62nd minute and Jewel Raja also came in for Pradhan. Three minutes later, Gurwinder Singh came in for Raju Gaikwad.

Robin tried to make an impact soon but his left-footed volley from the top of the box went straight to the rival goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

With six substitutions allowed, Koevermans brought in Anthony Pereira in the 77th minute in place of Miranda and three minutes later, there was another double substitution - Joaquim Abranches replacing Mehtab Hossain and Denzil Franco coming in place of Syed Rahim Nabi in the 80th minute.

The move earned more thrust and a Francis Fernandes corner was gathered well by Mahbud and another went abegging.

But it was an uphill task and despite India going all out, the Singapore defence managed to keep everything at bay till the final whistle.

India: Subrata Pal, Nirmal Chhetri, Gouramangi Singh, Raju Gaikwad (Gurwinder Singh - 65th), Syed Rahim Nabi (Denzil Franco - 80th), Sanju Pradhan (Jewel Raja - 62nd), Mehtab Hossain, Lenny Rodrigues, Clifford Miranda (Anthony Pereira - 77th), Francis Fernandes, Sunil Chhetri (Robin Singh - 62nd).


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