Hosts Singapore made a dominant start to the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup as they saw off Myanmar 3-0 at the National Stadium with a blistering spell of three goals in ten minutes late in the first half sending them top of Group A after the first round of matches.

Safuwan Baharudin got things underway in the 35th minute before a quickfire brace from Ikhsan Fandi helped ease the hosts to victory, a result that coach Tatsuma Yoshida said was positive but one that still leaves room for improvement.

“The boys were a bit nervous and the first match is always special but the most important thing is that we got the three points and I’m proud of the performance but we know we can improve and get better.

“We need to be aware of being able to adapt to different situations within matches but the team spirit is fantastic and the playing quality was also good but, again, we know we can improve.”


In front of a noisy, sold-out, home crowd at the National Stadium things got off to a lively start with both nations showing good intent to push forward as the best of the early chances saw Faris Ramli break from a Myanmar corner and race towards goal where he was met by an alert Myo Min Latt who did well to smother his initial shot and then retreat and make a diving save from the follow-up effort.

The home crowd roared for what they thought was a penalty in the 20th minute as Irfan Fandi drove forward from defence only to be booked for a dive as a he went down inside the box before he then produced a smart, diving, save from Min Latt from a headed effort from a corner shortly after.

It was from a set-piece where the hosts made the breakthrough as a corner from the right was met by Safuwan Baharudin who leapt and steered a well-placed header past the diving Min Latt to put Singapore in front in the 35th minute.

That lead was doubled when the hosts finished a long counter in clinical fashion as Ikhsan Fandi powered into the box, took a touch away from goal before turning and lashing across Min Latt in the 39th minute to make it 2-0.

The hosts then took advantage of another set-piece as Ikhsan rose and powered home a header from the penalty spot following a free-kick from the right in the first minute of stoppage time as Singapore went to the break with a commanding 3-0 lead.

The Lions went hunting further goals early in the second half as Shahdan Sulaiman sent off a powerful effort six minutes after the restart from the just outside the box before Ikhsan was denied a hattrick as he was adjudged to be marginally offside in steering a header home in the 57th minute.

Myanmar forced the hosts’ custodian Hassan Sunny into his first major save as he kept out an effort from substitute Win Naing Tun in the 69th minute before Ikhsan had another effort blocked inside the box in the 78th minute.

A series of injury stoppages then limited any further chances of note with Singapore rounding out the 3-0 win, a defeat that Myanmar coach Antoine Hey argued was partly a product of his team’s limited preparation.

“There is a lack of match practice given that the last league match in Myanmar was in October 2020 and we knew that the players don’t have the match rhythm they should have and that cost us in the first 45 minutes.

“We defended badly from corners and also from counters although I thought when we had the ball we played not so bad, this was not a win because of the class of Singapore but it was because of our own mistakes at this point in time.”