Amri fires Singapore into Suzuki Cup final

Updated 13 December 2012
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Amri fires Singapore into Suzuki Cup final

SINGAPORE: Khairul Amri struck the only goal as three-time champions Singapore beat the Philippines 1-0 to reach the AFF Suzuki Cup final yesterday.
Following a goalless semifinal first leg in Manila, Amri lashed home a shot from outside the box on 19 minutes after Shahdan Sulaiman’s quickly taken free-kick caught the Philippines defense napping at Jalan Besar Stadium.
The hosts dominated the first half but they were unable to extend their lead as Azkals ‘keeper Eduard Sacapano denied Amri a second goal after clearing the ball straight to him and later stopped a shot from striker Alexander Duric, 42.
The visitors did not threaten until late in the half when Singapore ‘keeper Izwan Mahbud smartly saved a low drive by Phil Younghusband and then came out to smother a shot by his brother James as he attacked on the break.
Phil Younghusband went close again in the 71st minute but it was a rare moment of real danger for Singapore as they hung on to reach their first Southeast final since 2007.
The Lions, who have never lost in their three previous title matches, will host the final’s first leg next Wednesday against three-time winners Thailand or defending champions Malaysia. The second leg is on December 22.
Thailand and Malaysia meet in the second leg of their semi-final at the Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkok on Thursday following a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Kuala Lumpur.
Amri also scored the decisive goal in the two-legged final in 2007, when Singapore edged Thailand 3-2 on aggregate.


Ahmed defends Pakistan squad as ‘best of the best’

Updated 21 April 2018
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Ahmed defends Pakistan squad as ‘best of the best’

  • Fawad Alam is a seasoned player, but the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well, says Pakistani skipper
  • Former test opener Ramiz Raja claims there are flaws in Alam’s batting technique

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has defended the 16-man national squad for tours of Ireland and England as the “best of the best” despite criticism over the omission of batsman Fawad Alam.
“It’s not like I voted him (Alam) out,” Ahmed said on the last day of Pakistan’s training camp in Lahore on Saturday, adding that “I would have picked all the 25 ... but we had to pick the best of the best 16 players.”
Wasim Akram was among several former Pakistan test players who have criticized selectors for ignoring Alam in the middle order — especially since Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have now retired.
Alam was among 25 players called up for the camp after scoring consistently on the domestic circuit, but he failed to make the final squad.
Former test opener Ramiz Raja claimed there were flaws in Alam’s batting technique and that he would not have considered the left-hander, considering the tough conditions in England.
Ahmed played down the dispute.
“People can make as much reasons to talk, but there is nothing like flaws in anyone’s batting technique,” Ahmed said. “If you look back, Fawad had played a test in 2009 and he is a seasoned player ... (but) the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well.”
Ahmed said it had been a “unanimous decision” by coach, captain and selectors.
Pakistan has included uncapped batsmen Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali in the final 16, as well as Fakhar Zaman, who has done well in limited-overs cricket but is yet to play a test match.
Misbah and Younis will be missed on a tour of England where Misbah scored a century at Lord’s in 2016 and Younis made 218 at The Oval in the fourth test to draw the series 2-2.
Pakistan has two four-day matches against Kent and Northamptonshire before meeting Ireland in a one-off test at Dublin, starting May 11. It plays two tests against England, starting May 24.
Pakistan will also play Scotland on June 12-13 in two Twenty20 Internationals.
Pakistan faced a major blow when its premier legspinner Yasir Shah was ruled out due to injury. However, Ahmed said he wasn’t sure that Shadab Khan, who has played just one test match, would make it to the final team with the English conditions more suitable for pace.
“The weather will be much cooler and I am not even sure if we are going to play a spinner,” Ahmed said.