BANGKOK (Jan 22, 2002) – Singapore kept their semifinal hopes alive when they defeated traditional rivals Malaysia 1-0 in a AFF Under-20 Group A match at the Thai Japan Youth Centre Stadium today. The credit for the only goal of the match went to Norfahazly Kamsan who took advantage of a lapse in defence to notch the winner.

Although the win placed them within a mathematical chance of making the cut, Singapore will have to defeat Indonesia in their last preliminary match and hope the other contenders stumble along the way.

While the Singaporeans were celebrating their narrow win, the Malaysians were sore at their first loss of the tournament. A win today would have enhanced their semifinal hopes. But with the defeat, the Malaysians will have to beat favourites Thailand in their last preliminary tie.

In today’s match, both teams played unattractive football with neither really having an edge over the other. However a lapse in concentration by the Malaysian defence resulted in the only goal of the match.

In the 65th minute, Norfahazly pounced on the ball, which came off the crossbar, to quickly turn it in before Malaysian keeper Sani Anuar could get his hands to it.

This was Singapore’s first win in three outings. They crashed to Thailand (5-1) and Myanmar (7-1) in their first two matches. Malaysia on the other hand defeated Myanmar (2-1) and were held to a 3-3 draw by Indonesia.

Following today’s proceedings, Thailand are top of Group A with seven points while Myanmar and Malaysia are second and third respectively with four points apiece. Singapore are fourth with three points while Indonesia are fifth with only one point.

Singapore coach Robert Lim said his team took their chances well. “I feel sorry for Malaysia. It could have gone either way. We grabbed that one good chance and scored.

“Malaysia are a fairly good team but we always bring out our best against them,” Robert added.

Malaysian goalkeeper coach Lim Chuan Chin said it was an evenly contested match. “But we were punished by a lapse in concentration. We were also not playing according to plan. The Singaporeans played better than us.”

Malaysia and Singapore will conclude their group matches on Monday.