SINGAPORE: It was niggly, scrappy and very messy, but Tatsuma Yoshida began his stint as the Lions’ head coach with a win, as Singapore scored a 4-3 victory against the Solomon Islands in an international friendly on Saturday (Jun 8).
Despite a 5th minute goal from Faris Ramli at the Singapore Sports Hub, strikes from Solomon Islands’ Feni Gagame and Andrew Abba seemed to have consigned Singapore to a defeat.
A free kick from Shahdan Sulaiman then levelled things. The momentum, however, swung back in favour of the away side after a goal from Benjamin Totori.
But the Lions, ranked 21 places below Solomon Islands, grabbed two more goals - the first, a clinical finish from Gabriel Quak in the 77th minute and the winner, a tap-in from Hariss Harun close to 10 minutes later.
Yoshida, who signed a two-year contract with the option of an extension of another two years, was announced last month as the new head coach of the Singapore men's national team.
The last man to fill the Lions’ hot seat on a permanent basis was V Sundramoorthy, who stepped down from his role in April last year.
Following Sundram’s departure, the national side was helmed in the interim by Fandi Ahmad, whose stint ended after Singapore were eliminated in the group stages at the AFF Suzuki Cup last November.
Former international Nazri Nasir then led the team as caretaker during international friendlies in March this year.
Speaking at a post-match press conference, Yoshida gave his side’s performance a “six or seven” out of 10, admitting that there were some mistakes when it came to concentration and decision-making.
“It was a good result,” said the Japanese. “The boys were a little bit nervous ... But the players understood my vision and tactics.”
The Lions’ next fixture will be another international friendly on Jun 11 when they face Myanmar.