AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Thursday 13 December 2012
Last update 13 December 2012 4:18 am
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.