SAF 2-1 PSMS Medan
SINGAPORE – Admad Latiff’s historic goal nine minutes into extra-time saw Singapore Armed Forces defeat PSMS Medan 2-1 as the Warriors became the first Singaporean side to qualify for the AFC Champions League.
Therdsak Chaiman, who opened the scoring at Jalan Besar Stadium after 36 minutes and was the star of the show for SAF, found Latiff with an incisive diagonal ball and the latter beat keeper Markus Harison Rihihina from a narrow angle to clinch a second consecutive extra-time victory following last week’s 4-1 triumph over Provincial Electrical Authority.
Mario Costas had cancelled out Therdsak’s effort six minutes after the break but any hope of a late comeback for the Indonesians were effectively ended when Oktovianus Maniani and Edi Sukamoto were sent-off after they fell behind.
SAF started brightly and John Wilkinson had the first good chance after 12 minutes when a neat interchange between Latiff and Aleksandar Duric created an opening but he shot straight at keeper Markus.
Therdsak then found Duric on the edge of the box and the Warriors skipper turned and fired a low drive but Markus palmed the ball away for a corner.
A swift PSMS counter-attack saw Afandi Rachmat surge into the opposition half before picking out Elie Aiboy in the box. The skipper’s first shot was blocked by Hafiz Osman and he fired the rebound just over the bar.
However, SAF took the lead in the 36th minute thanks to a fine effort from Therdsak as the former Thai international weaved his way past Esteban Tejera before drilling a low shot past Markus.
Therdsak, who was the inaugural AFC Champions League MVP after inspiring BEC Tero Sasana to a runner-up finish in 2003, could have grabbed a second on the stroke of half-time but shot wide when free on the edge of the area.
PSMS were more aggressive game in the second-half and grabbed an equaliser after 51 minutes. Having collected a long ball, Elie found Costas and Daniel Bennett allowed the Argentine forward too much time and space to curl a shot into the back of the net.
The ineffective Wilkinson was replaced by Mustaqim Manzur in the 70th minute and SAF immediately regained the initiative but Latiff wasted a chance seven minutes later when his diving header from Shaiful Esah’s cross went agonisingly wide of the far post.
With the game level after 90 minutes, extra-time ensued and Latiff consigned his earlier miss to the past in the 99th minute.
Therdsak was allowed to advance unchallenged to the edge of the area and his diagonal pass found the former Singapore international who found the roof of the net with a powerful strike despite an acute angle.
PSMS were dealt a further blow a minute later when substitute Oktovianus collected his second yellow card after charging into SAF goalkeeper Shahril Jantan.
Edi joined his team-mate in the dressing room when he was also shown a second yellow seven minutes from time as SAF held on to complete a historic victory.