Sundram satisfied after Singapore grab friendly draw vs. Myanmar

Singapore left it late to hold Myanmar to a 1-1 draw in a closed-door friendly at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday night, leaving coach V. Sundramoorthy satisfied ahead of Saturday's crucial home AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Chinese Taipei.

It had looked like the Lions were slipping to a disappointing defeat after missing at least three clear-cut chances to equalise in the wake of Aung Thu's 65th-minute opener for Myanmar.

However, the substitutes would combine four minutes into added time, with wide man Nazrul Nazari firing home a crisp volley from Khairul Nizam's teasing right-wing cross.

"We were the better team today, possession-wise and stats-wise," Sundramoorthy said. "On the break, [Myanmar] had a couple chances... they are fast paced. For their quick break, we put too many players in the box, then the corner wasn't delivered in. Tt was outside, and we were a bit short numbered.

"But we equalised, and it's a boost for our morale. It's an excellent cross by Nizam and Nazrul scored a great first-time goal. So, there's players who are showing me that they're up for selection, which is good to see. It's a good warm-up game where it will put our boys in good spirit against Chinese Taipei."

The Lions have struggled to score goals under Sundram's reign since he took over in May 2016, with just six recorded in 13 official outings.

They would have easily won this game if they had put their chances away.

Safuwan Baharudin, who came on as a half-time substitute for Khairul Amri, hit the bar once and went close on another two occasions. Faritz Hameed somehow failed to poke home from a yard out after Safuwan had knocked on Zulfahmi Arifin's free kick.

However, Sundram remained upbeat heading into Saturday's second qualifier of their final-round campaign.

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"[Not scoring goals] is always a concern, but the most important thing is that we hit the target a few times," said the 51-year-old.

"On another day, we could have scored three. The goalkeeper made an excellent save from Safuwan. And how Faritz missed that chance, I don't know, how he missed that chance, maybe the ball bobbled. But whatever, I think we had the better chances overall."

A victory against Chinese Taipei would put Singapore in a good position to qualify for United Arab Emirates in 2019. But Sundram is keen not to underestimate their upcoming opponents, who are three places below them in the FIFA rankings at 160th.

"They're a very organised team who play good football, so it's going to be a very different game," he said. "They have improved so much and have good attacking players. The performance on the day is the key to us winning the game."

Singapore will host Argentina in a high-profile friendly at the National Stadium on June 13, three days after the Chinese Taipei game.