Singapore fell to defeat in their opening Group C match at the 2015 Asian Games in Incheon after being beaten 1-0 by Tajikistan at the Ansan Wa~ Stadium on Sunday.
In a keenly-contested clash, the Singaporeans looked to have done enough for a point after matching their opponents throughout the 90 minutes.
And they could easily have taken the lead midway through the second half when Shahfiq Ghani had a blistering effort parried by Alisher Tuychiev, before Faris Ramli sent the rebound narrowly wide with an acrobatic bicycle kick.
But with three minutes remaining, Tajikistan went on to grab all three points after Siyovush Asrorov was left completely unmarked inside the box and met Umedzhon Sharipov’s corner with a glancing header into the top corner.
Elsewhere in the group, Palestine moved top after goals from Ahmad Maher Wridat and Sameh Mara’aba handed them a shock 2-0 triumph over Oman.
Over in Group A, Malaysia also began their campaign with a loss after being defeated 3-0 by hosts Korea Republic at the Incheon Munhak Stadium.
Rim Chang-woo had handed the South Koreans the lead three minutes before the half-hour mark, but they were unable to double their tally until the 79th minute when Kim Shin-wook found the back of the net.
From then on, there was only ever going to be one winner and Lee Kwang-jong’s charges went on to seal the win three minutes later when Kim Seung-dae added a third.
The final Southeast Asian side in action on Sunday were Laos, who put in a resilient display before ultimately falling to a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia in Group A.
Having kept their opponents at bay for much of the clash, the Laotians’ resistance was finally broken when Raed Abdullah Al-Ghamdi opened the scoring from the penalty spot 15 minutes from time.
Saleh Al-Shehri then doubled Saudi Arabia’s advantage in the 87th minute, before Majed Omar Kanabah also netted in the second minute of injury-time to wrap things up for his side.
Group D action saw Iraq claim top spot with a 4-0 triumph over Nepal at the Incheon Football Stadium, while Japan were also convincing winners after beating Kuwait 4-1 in the later kick-off.
Sunday’s 2015 Asian Games Results
Saudi Arabia 3-0 Laos
Korea Republic 3-0 Malaysia
Singapore 0-1 Tajikistan
Oman 0-2 Palestine
Iraq 4-0 Nepal
Japan 4-1 Kuwait