SINGAPORE: Singapore Fandi Ahmad defeated Timor Leste 6-1 at the National Stadium on Wednesday (November 21) to keep their hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup live.
A hat-trick from Safuwan Baharudin, two goals from Ikhsan Fandi and a goal from Faris Ramli gave Singapore a pleasant victory as the Lions finished third in Group B with six points, one behind Thailand and the Philippines who drew 1-1 at Bacolod City.
The Lions entered the match knowing that anything less than victory would kill their chances of moving to the next round, and it took them only 12 minutes when Safuwan passed past Aderito Raul Fernandes.
But the Lions were barely made with their celebration when Timor Leste got their equalizer as a quick-fire counterattack saw Rufino Walter Gama tap home.
But the home team recovered quickly and Safuwan got his second goal of the night in the 19th minute as he smashed the loose ball after Zulfahmi Arifin's free kick was suffocated.
Singapore then made it 3-1 11 minutes later when Ikhsan pushed home after the other half were cleared.
Fandi's men were changing style at this point and Ikhsan made it 4-1 in the 42nd minute, smashing a superb bicycle kick after Safuwan's crossed header.
The second half was a much calmer affair compared to the first, because the away side seemed to regain their composure. The closest Lions to score is a fierce shot from substitute Nazrul Nazari who rebounded from the crossbar.
But the Lion found their second wind in the embers dying from the game as substitute Faris found the net in the 90th minute and Safuwan completed a virtuoso performance with a neat header.
Singapore's last group match will be against Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok on Sunday (November 25) while the Philippines will travel to Indonesia.