Singapore and Indonesia have played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final to leave the tie finely poised heading into Saturday’s return clash.

One of the goals of the tournament saw Witan Sulaeman put Indonesia ahead in the 28th minute before Ikhsan Fandi squared things up in the 70th minute to leave the tie perfectly poised for the second leg on Saturday. 

“We knew it was going to be a challenging match tonight and I think you could see that the players tired over the second half," said Indonesia coach Shin Tae-yong. 

"That gave the momentum to Singapore so now we need to focus on our recovery and prepare for the second leg.”

It was an opening half that was mostly tightly fought with few clear chances before the goal arrived with the best of those early moments seeing Ikhsan sending a scuffed shot into the side netting in the 14th minute and then Witan push a shot wide five minutes later.

Nadeo Argawinata had to be alert in the Indonesian goal to tip a looping header from Safuwan Baharudin over the bar as the hosts were having their best moments from set piece situations.

When the breakthrough came it was a moment of sheer class from a vibrant and youthful Garuda side with Asnawi Mangkualam bursting free down the right where he exchanged passes with Witan – not once, but twice – before the midfielder opened his body and slid past a diving Hassan Sunny to make it 1-0 in the 28th minute.

Witan came close again nine minutes later as he pounced on a loose pass from the hosts but couldn’t find the target as Indonesia went to the break with that narrow lead.

Ikhsan showed his physical threat as he brushed off a couple of challenges and got a shot off four minutes after the restart before Singapore blew their best opening of the contest shortly after the hour as they won the ball high up the pitch with Faris Ramli surging into the box, cutting back but then sending his shot wide of the target from a good position.

There was no mistake though in the 70th minute as a misplaced long pass from the back saw the ball make its way to Faris who released Ikhsan, with the powerful forward doing well to send his shot past Nadeo and make it 1-1.

The maximum capacity home crowd were roaring the Lions on, with Safuwan rising to smash a header onto the post three minutes later before a pair of substitutes had late chances. Indonesia’s Hanis Saghara saw his deflected shot almost fool Hassan in the 83rd minute and five minutes later it was Amy Recha for the hosts who smashed a long range effort at Nadeo who did well to parry it clear.

Singapore coach Tatsuma Yoshida said the he was pleased with his team’s fightback and declared that he was confident they could finish the job in the second leg.

“I always have confidence in the team, Indonesia has higher quality than expected but I also believe in my team. Maybe some players were nervous at first playing at home in a big match but this is only half-time.

“This result was not very good but also not very bad for us, the team didn’t give up and equalised and so the next match will be the second half of the game with only a short time to prepare and recover but I believe in my players.”