Singapore had to come from behind twice on Tuesday evening to prevent falling to an embarrassing defeat after a 2-2 draw with Guam at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
In what proved to be an impressive start by the visitors, they started the brighter of the two sides and carved out a host of chances in the opening exchanges.
Shane Malcolm looked the likeliest source of a Guam goal as he regularly found his way in behind the opposition defence, although he could only fire into the side-netting from a tight angle after rounding Izwan Mahbud in the fifth minute, before having a low shot saved by the Lions keeper four minutes later after skipping past two men.
The hosts had an excellent chance to break the deadlock when Baihakki Khaizan made a darting run to the near post to meet Zulfahmi Arifin’s corner and nodded it towards the far post, although Alexander Lee was perfectly positioned to hack the ball to safety.
But eight minutes before halftime, Matao opened the scoring after Malcolm held the ball up inside the area before sending a low cross into the six-yard box, where Shawn Nicklaw proceeded to nip in ahead of Izwan and stab the ball home.
Nonetheless, the Lions pulled level nine minutes into the second half when Ismadi Mukhtar found space down the right and floated a lovely cross onto the head of Faris Ramli, who made no mistake in planting a firm header past Bijan Gloston.
Still, Guam reclaimed the lead in the 73rd minute and it was a strike worthy of winning any contest; Jason Cunliffe latching onto a throw-in and sending a stunning first-time half volley with the outside of his left foot looping over Izwan and into the far corner.
However, the hosts did managed to respond once more with ten minutes remaining when a short corner routine eventually saw Shahril make his way to the edge of box and float a dangerous delivery for Baihakki to volley into the back of the net.
Singapore did have one final chance to win it in injury-time when Shahril charged through the middle and curled away a shot from the edge of the box, but Gloston produced a brilliant flying save to deny the Lions the victory.
Singapore: Izwan Mahbud, Ismadi Mukhtar, Baihakki Khaizan, Zulfahmi Arifin, Shakir Hamzah, Hariss Harun, Safuwan Baharudin, Sahil Suhaimi (Gabriel Quak 46’), Shahril Ishak, Faris Ramli, Khairul Amri (Shahfiq Ghani 73’).
Guam: Dallas Jaye (Bijan Gloston 46’), Alexander Lee (Min Choi 90’), Mason Grimes, Brandon McDonald, Nathaniel Lee (Micah Paulino 58’), Ryan Guy, Justin Lee (Dylan Naputi 69’), Shawn Nicklaw, Jason Cunliffe, Shane Malcolm (Jan Staman 85’), John Matkin.