Singapore were eliminated from the 2015 Asian Games in Incheon despite recording a gutsy 2-1 win over Palestine in Group C on Sunday afternoon.
Shahfiq Ghani handed the Lions the lead at the Ansan Wa~ Stadium after just two minutes, when he curled a sublime freekick into the top corner.
15 minutes later, Shahfiq was at it again as he found the opposite corner with another stunning strike from 25 yards which left Ikram Rami Hamadeh rooted to the spot.
Palestine managed to hit back seven minutes from time when Ahmad Maher Wridat was left unmarked inside the area and emphatically fired home from inside the six-yard box, although it ultimately proved to be a mere consolation.
Nonetheless, the result was not enough to send Singapore through to the Round of 16 as they were pipped to second spot by Tajikistan, who claimed a last-gasp 1-0 win over Oman courtesy of Jahongir Ergashev’s 94th-minute strike.
Over in Group A, Malaysia’s bid to progress was ended by a 3-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia at the Goyang Stadium.
Having been drawn alongside powerhouses Korea Republic and the Saudis, it was always going to be an uphill task for Harimau Malaya to advance to the last 16 and they entered the clash needing a victory to do just that.
Their cause was not helped by Zubir Azmi’s dismissal three minutes after the half-hour mark; the Terengganu left-back shown a second yellow for clattering into Abdulaziz Al Bishi.
And Saudi Arabia made their numerical advantage count in the 56th minute, when Al Bishi pounced on a loose ball inside the box and floated a pinpoint cross for captain Abdullah Al Hafith to head home.
Majed Omar then made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute when he met a lovely floated pass by Abdulkarim Al Qahtani with a cracking first-time effort into the bottom corner.
With six minutes remaining, the Green Falcons made sure of the win as substitute Ahmed Al Shehri broke free inside the box after playing a neat one-two with Al Qahtani, before stroking his shot past the onrushing Farhan Abu Bakar.
Elsewhere in the group, Laos’ campaign ended with a 2-0 defeat to Korea Republic at the Hwaseong Stadium, courtesy of second-half strikes from Lee Jong-ho and Kim Seung-dae.
Sunday’s 2015 Asian Games Results
Malaysia 0-3 Saudi Arabia
Laos 0-2 Korea Republic
Palestine 1-2 Singapore
Tajikistan 1-0 Oman
Kuwait 0-3 Iraq
Nepal 0-4 Japan