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Duric double lifts Lions

Singapore – Evergreen striker Aleksandar Duric netted a first-half brace as Singapore ended an eight-match winless run with a 2-0 victory over Hong Kong in an international friendly on Wednesday.

Duric turned 42 last Sunday but he showed that he had lost none of his touch in front of goal as he ghosted past the Hong Kong defence to head home a cross from the left by Qiu Li after only seven minutes at the Jurong West Stadium.

The Tampines Rovers forward found the net again in the 21st minute, his 22nd goal in 43 international matches, when he controlled a high ball by skipper Harris Harun before firing a low shot past Hong Kong goalkeeper Yapp Hung Fai from just outside the box.

While Singapore were unable to assert their dominance with further goals, coach Raddy Avramovic was pleased with the performance of his side as they recorded their first victory since a 2-0 friendly win over Philippines last October.

"First half, we controlled the game. Generally, we could have scored a few more goals and there are a few more things we can improve on, which would come with a few more games under our belt," said the Serbian, who led Singapore to Asean Football Championship titles in 2004 and 2007.

"I think this team can do even better for that part, but there were some good passing, some good combinations, especially the chance Qiu Li had when he hit the bar. That was some really beautiful football."

While Duric stole the spotlight, Avramovic was able to test his options ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup as Jufri Taha made his first international start at right back while youngsters Shahfiq Ghani and Nazrul Ahmad Nazari came on as substitutes.

The Lions will reportedly visit Yangon in September for a friendly against Myanmar as they continue their preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup. They have been drawn to play in Group B in Kuala Lumpur with defending champions Malaysia, 2010 runners-up Indonesia and the runners-up from the qualifying tournament.