Singapore's senior side ease SEA Games football gloom against Brunei

Singapore cruised to a 5-1 win against Brunei in an international friendly at the Jurong East Stadium on Saturday evening.

The victory help lift some of the gloom on home soil after Singapore's U23 side fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to Myanmar in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games two days earlier.

In the senior international, there was no denying the gulf between the two footballing nations as veteran forward Khairul Amri netted a brace. Fazrul Nawaz, Hariss Harun and Shaiful Esah were also among the goals. Brunei's sole reply came through Fakhrul Zahhazmi after a Singapore defensive mix-up.

A pinpoint cross from Fazrul Nawaz in the sixth minute found Amri, who leapt highest to head the ball past Fakhrul Zalhazmi for a 1-0 lead.

Despite dominating possession for much of the half, it took Bernd Stange's side until the 37th minute to double their advantage through a well-taken shot from outside the box by captain Hariss.

Three minutes later, a defensive mix-up between Madhu Mohana and Izwan Mahbud saw the ball fall kindly to Brunei's Mui'z Sisa who sent a lob into an empty net to reduce the deficit.

Singapore's two goal advantage was restored a minute before the break when Hafiz Sujad threaded a ball behind the Brunei defence to allow Shaiful to rifle home a superb effort to make it 3-1.

The second half saw the home team continuing their pass-and-move game, with Hariss and Izzdin Shafiq pulling the strings in midfield.

Fakhrul got his fingertips to the ball but could not prevent Amri's 56th minute free-kick from bulging the net for his second goal on the night.

The Brunei defence was caught napping eight minutes later to allow Fazul a simple turn-and-shoot to make it five for Singapore.

A flurry of touchline action saw both teams making full use of all seven substitutions.

Balestier Khalsa goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam came on for his international debut while the likes of Home United's Yasir Hanapi and LionsXII winger Gabriel Quak also saw game time.

Shahril Ishak was the last substitute to come on with seven minutes left, putting him level with Warriors FC captain Daniel Bennett as the Singaporeans with most international caps at 123.

A jubilant Zaiful said: "Firstly, I want to thank coach Bernd and [Lee] Bee Seng, and all the coaching staff for giving me this opportunity and believing in me.

"I've been waiting for this day and finally, today is the day. It's a totally different feeling because it has always been my childhood dream to represent my country."

The Lions will now travel to Phnom Penh to take on Cambodia on Friday, in their first Group E match in the second round of AFC World Cup qualifying. On June 16 they will face 2011 Asian champions Japan, in Saitama.