|Singapore's starting XI against the Maldives|
Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic named his "new" squad of 33 players two weeks ago and started training on 31 May 2011. Preparation for the match, however, was affected by the S.League which was still in action during that time.
The Lions, as the Singapore team is known, sprung straight into action from kick off and went ahead after just 13 minutes. Qiu Li, who had been missing from action through multiple injuries played Jumaat Jantan through on goal, only for the Maldive's defender to bring him down for an obvious penalty. Up stood Qiu Li and he cooly put the ball away for a 1-0 lead.
Qiu only needed six minutes to double his tally. This time round, he created his own space, own chance, and scored probably the goal of the game. Operating on the left side of a five-man midfield, Qiu twisted and turned around three defenders inside the 18 yard box, and sent a screamer from an acute angle into the bottom left hand corner of Mohamed Imran's goal.
Shi Jiayi was next on the score sheet as Singapore made it look easy on the half hour mark. Recieving a ball with his back to goal, Jiayi turned brilliantly and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top left hand corner to make it 3-0.
The Maldives had their chances as well, however the killer instinct just wasn't there. Team captain Ashfaq Ali, operating as an attacking midfielder just behind his two strikers showed plenty of promise but was cut out consistently by Singapore's youngest ever international captain, Hariss Harun (20) and Daniel Bennett.
This match was meant to be part of the preparation for the game against Chinese Taipei or Malaysia and it was obvious that the gaffer would give some of the new boys a run . Only three out of the 23 in the entire squad did not taste action.
Three minutes after the restart, Aleksander Duric connected with former SAFFC team-mate Saiful Esah's cross, having beaten the offside trap perfectly, to put the tie beyond the Maldives' reach.
In the post match conference, Maldives' coach Diego Andres Cruciani mentioned that he is beginning to worry because their opponent in the WCQ2014 is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Coach Diego also singled out Qiu Li for special praises.
"The number 25 is a very clever player. He is a complete player I would say."
Singapore Coach Raddy was happy with the first 45 minutes of the game and he pointed out that in the second period, due to trying out youngsters, the plan went a little "off", but overall, he was still pleased with the team's performance.
Singapore will next face Laos at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 18 June as the Lions prepare for their WCQ tie on 23 and 28 July.
Singapore: Lionel Lewis (Izwan Mabud); Jumaat Jantan (Ruizaini Zainal); Daniel Bennett (Safuwan Baharudin); Hariss Harun (C); Ismail Yunos (Shaiful Esah); Isa Halim (Mustafic Fahrudin); Shi Jiayi (Shukor Zailan); Qiu Li (Hamqaamal Shah); Shahdan Sulaiman; Fazrul Nawas (Khairul Nizam); Aleksander Duric (Andrew Tan)
Maldives: Mohamed Imran (Faisal Mohamed); Mohamed Sifan (Hussain Niyaz); Umair Mohamed (Ahmed Shafiu); Abdul Ghani Assad (Abdulla Haneef); Ahmed Saeed (Sameer Fairooz Adam); Arif Mohamed; Abdul Ghani (Shamdhooh Mohamed); Naseer Mukhtar (Ibrahim Shiyam); Fazeel Ibrahim; Ashfaq Ali (C) (Fasir Ali); Ali Ashadh (Lareef Adam)
Read more from Chee Seong on Singaporean football on his Liga Singapura blog.