Singapore’s national Under-18 football team lost 2-1 to New Caledonia’s U-18 squad in an international friendly at Bishan Stadium last night.
New Caledonia, a French territory comprising dozens of islands in the South Pacific with an estimated population of 278,000, took a 2-0 lead with a clinical first-half brace by Titouan Richard.
The Cubs got their act together in the second half and reduced the deficit in the 79th minute with a powerful header from midfielder Saifullah Akbar, but they couldn’t find an equaliser.
National U-18 coach Christophe Chaintreuil was pleased with the second-half performance, but frowned at the Cubs’ sloppy display in the first half.
“In the second half, we did what we wanted,” said Chaintreuil.
“We placed pressure on them and managed to score a goal. However, we did not show the right attitude in the first half.
“Football is a game of two halves, not one. We were not doing well offensively and defensively. We did not put in 100 per cent commitment.”
The U-18 team are preparing for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-19 Championship qualifier next month, when they will meet hosts Mongolia, Japan and Thailand in Group I.
Last month, at the Asean Football Federation (AFF) U-18 Championship in Yangon, the U-18s beat Cambodia and Laos 5-3 and 3-0 respectively, but lost to Malaysia (3-1), Thailand (2-0), and Timor Leste (3-1).
On his team’s chances at next month’s AFC qualifiers, Chantreuil said: “We met Thailand earlier in the year and we beat them 2-0, but we then lost to them at the AFF U-18 Championship… We stand a good chance against them.
“Japan are a strong team so it will be difficult, but anything can happen in football. We do not know much about Mongolia but, then again, we must remember that there is never an easy international game.”