RIYADH: Singapore fell to another World Cup qualifying defeat on Monday (Jun 7) after a 5-0 loss to Uzbekistan in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh.
Singapore’s joint qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 Asian Cup in China, delayed due to the COVD-19 pandemic, had resumed last week with the Lions’ 4-0 defeat to Palestine.
The latest result leaves them out of the running for the next World Cup.
Monday’s penultimate Group D match at the King Fahd International Stadium saw Uzbekistan getting a comfortable three-goal lead at half time, before adding two more goals in the second half.
Singapore head coach Tatsuma Yoshida made five changes to the starting eleven after their previous game against Palestine, but that was not enough to overcome the Uzbeks, who stand 73 rungs higher than Singapore (159) in the FIFA rankings.
Jaloliddin Masharipov began the rout early for Uzbekistan, netting in the 6th minute, before adding another a goal in the 34th minute.
Eldor Shomorudov grabbed Uzbekistan's third on the stroke of half-time, while Odil Akhmedov scored his side's fourth goal five minutes after the break.
An own goal by Singapore’s Irfan Fandi in the 88th minute sealed a miserable outing for the Lions.
After the game, Yoshida said that Singapore's fighting spirit and tactical level were "quite good" and "better than in the previous match".
“They were doing well but, conceding the first goal left us a bit down … We can learn from Uzbekistan; they have quality but they were also running a lot… and we are not used to that kind of intensity," said Yoshida, whose remarks were carried on the Football Association of Singapore website.
Monday’s result leaves Singapore in fourth place on seven points in Group D, behind third-placed Palestine on goal difference.
The Lions will face Saudi Arabia on Jun 11 in the final game of the qualifying campaign.
The top-placed team from the eight second-round groups and the four best runners-up will progress to the third round of 2022 World Cup qualifiers. They will also qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup.
Elsewhere on Monday, Iran defeated hosts Bahrain 3-0 to reignite their challenge for a place in the third round of Asia's qualifying tournament for the 2022 World Cup.
Iraq continue to lead Iran in Group C after securing a comfortable 4-1 win over Cambodia, Mohanad Ali opening the scoring for Srecko Katanec's side after 18 seconds.
China enhanced their hopes of taking the runners-up spot behind Syria in Group A with a 2-0 win over the Philippines that was secured by second-half goals from Wu Lei and Wu Xinghan.
Vietnam remain top of Group G after they beat Indonesia 4-0 while the United Arab Emirates moved into sole possession of second place with a 3-1 win over Thailand.
Caio and Fabio de Lima gave the UAE a two-goal lead at halftime before Thailand's 18-year-old striker Suphanat Mueanta pulled one back, only for Mohammed Jumaa to put the result beyond doubt in stoppage-time.
Australia, meanwhile, moved to the verge of booking their spot in the next round with a 5-1 rout of Chinese Taipei, and they lead Group B by five points from Jordan, who beat Nepal 3-0.