Singapore claim much-needed win over Cambodia to stay in the hunt at Southeast Asian Games

At the third time of asking, Singapore picked up their first win at the 31st Southeast Asian Games on Wednesday -- claiming a narrow 1-0 victory over Cambodia to keep alive their hopes of reaching the semifinals.

The only goal of the game came in the 36th minute when Saifullah Akbar exchanged a neat one-two with Shah Shahiran on the edge of the box before making his way into the area, where he was on hand to meet his teammate's delightful return cross with a firm header into the back of the net.

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Still, it was a far from comfortable outing for the Singaporeans as Cambodia were arguably the better of the two teams, with captain Sieng Chanthea a real livewire.

A brilliant individual run from the halfway line nearly saw Chanthea break through for the Cambodians in the first half but he was denied by some brave goalkeeping from Zaiful Nizam, who made a series of fine saves to keep his team ahead while also having his woodwork to thank for coming to the rescue twice.

Singapore could also have wrapped up the three points far earlier but waste a host of gilt-edged opportunities, with the best chance arriving with 14 minutes remaining after good work on the counterattack by Ryhan Stewart saw him lay a chance on a platter for Khairin Nadim, who somehow screwed his shot wide from a couple of yards out with the entire goal to aim for.

Nonetheless, the victory allowed Singapore to tentatively go top of Group B on four points but Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia are all just one behind with games in hand.

Singapore finish their campaign on Saturday against fierce rivals Malaysia, while Cambodia face a tough test in their quest to get back on track against record 16-time gold medallists Thailand.