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Singapore 1 - 1 Philippines: Late Greatwich strike shocks Singapore


02-Dec-2010
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Chris Greatwich claimed a spectacular injury time equaliser to earn the Philippines a surprise but well-deserved 1-1 draw with three-time champions Singapore in Hanoi's My Dinh Stadium in group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Thursday evening.

The England-born midfielder popped up to push home James Younghusband's late cross to earn the Philippines a rare point in the final stages of the competition.

Aleksandar Duric looked like he had done enough to earn Singapore the win with his goal in the 65th minute but Greatwich scored with one of the last kicks of the game to earn the Philippines a point their play throughout the 90 minutes had deserved.

Singapore struggled to impose themselves against a tricky opponent who refused to roll over and the Filipinos left the field with their reputation enhanced after qualifying for the AFF Suzuki Cup finals for the first time since 2007.

Simon McMenemy's team refused to be overawed by a Singapore side that featured many of the squad that had won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2007.

Singapore threatened as early as the ninth minute when Jumaat Jantan tried his luck from long range and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge could only gather the ball at the second attempt.

But rather than sparking a period of dominance for the former champions, it was the Philippines who looked the more likely to create the first opening in the subsequent exchanges.

The Younghusband brothers James and Phil were at the heart of much of their side's enterprising play and it was a fine run from Phil that opened up play to allow Ray Jonsson to fire off what was ultimately wide of the target in the 16th minute.

Noh Alam Shah's frustration in front of goal started as early as the 17th minute when, left one-on-one with Etheridge, the goalkeeper did enough to deflect his effort wide for a corner. Two minutes later, Alam Shah's effort evaded the attentions of Etheridge but was just wide of the target.

As Alam Shah miss-fired in front of goal, Shahdan Sulaiman presented the most serious threat to the well-drilled Philippine defence, pushing his 31st minute effort off target when he had time to pick his spot.

With four minutes left in the half, Shahdan thought he had scored when his shot looped over Etheridge only for Anton del Rosario to acrobatically clear the ball before it crossed the line.

Singapore continued to labour in the early exchanges of the second half and they could have gone a goal behind if Emelio Caligdong had shown more composure on the hour mark, but the midfielder dragged his shot across the face of goal from the edge of the area.

Five minutes later, though, the Singaporeans finally broke through. Alam Shah somehow managed to bundle his way to the bye-line before curling the ball over the defence and onto the head of Duric at the far post.

The former champions could have doubled their advantage with five minutes remaining only this time Duric saw his close range attempt deflected wide by Rob Gier.

That reprieve gave the Philippines the opportunity to salvage something from the game and, as the Singaporean defence failed to clear the ball as time ticked away, Greatwich struck a goal that will be long remembered within Philippines football.