Singapore 0 - Australia 0

Singapore put up a commendable performance on Saturday night as they were held to a goalless draw by visitors Australia at the National Stadium.

The Lions were without the likes of the injured Khairul Amri and the suspended Noh Alam Shah, while Australia coach Pim Verbeek took the opportunity to look at a number of players from his Olympic squad.

Liverpool's Harry Kewell was made captain of the side and Verbeek utilised him in the middle of the park where he orchestrated most of his team's initial attacking moves.

The attacking midfielder combined well with forwards Archie Thompson and Mark Bridge to create a few dangerous opportunities in the Singaporean penalty box.

Avramovic was well aware of his opponents' strengths. He said: "It is not easy to play against a team like Australia. They are a very good side and they have very good movement without the ball.

"Kewell drops deep behind John (Wilkinson) and Fahrudin (Mustafic) to get the ball and we found it difficult to cope with him in the first half," Avramovic added.

The afternoon rain was much at fault for the soggy pitch but credit to both sides, they managed to string a few decent passes together to create good goal-scoring opportunities.

The Socceroos had an excellent chance to open the scoring in the early minutes but Mile Jedinak's stinging freekick was dealt with admirably by Lionel Lewis.

The Lions then had their first attempt on target when Indra Sahdan reacted quickest to a Daniel Bennett cross but his looping header was caught just underneath the crossbar by Ante Covic.

Singapore's best move came in the 17th minute. Mustafic, who was one of Singapore's impressive players on the night, won the ball in midfield and relayed it to Aleksandar Duric.

The strapping forward passed the ball to left-sided midfielder Shahril Ishak and he was able to evade Adam Griffiths' tackle to cross the ball to the other flank.

The tireless Shi Jiayi made up the ground to get to the end of Shahril's pass but unfortunately, his effort could only strike the side netting despite the freedom given to the midfielder.

The Socceroos had their moments too. It came within a two-minute spell where they could have easily gotten the lead.

In the 26th minute, James Troisi's right-footed scorcher produced an acrobatic save from Lionel.

A minute later though, the custodian did not deal with the situation properly. A long throw-in from left-back Nikolai Topor-Stanley was bouncing around in the Lions' six-yard area as the home side failed to clear the danger.

Debutant Mark Bridge produced an instinctive volley but his effort could only hit the crossbar.

With both Australia and Singapore making wholesale changes to the lineup in the second half, it was expected to see both sides struggling to get a grip on the game.

Chances were few and far between but when they came, both custodians were in excellent form to repel the danger.

Substitute Bruce Djite had a gilt-edged chance on the hour mark when he was put through on goal by Bridge.

Djite used all his strength to brush aside Precious Emuejeraye's challenge but Lionel did extremely well to save the striker's effort with his legs in the one-on-one situation.

With seven minutes to go, the Lions could have wrapped the game up when two substitutes combined to carve open the Socceroos' defence.

Juma'at Jantan and Fazrul Nawaz executed a one-two on the left flank and the defender left Leigh Broxham in his wake.

With no one else to support him in the penalty box, Juma'at produced a stiff grounder but his effort was well smothered by Covic.

Avramovic rued the chance missed by his player in the final few minutes. "We created a few possibilities, a few good chances in the game. Juma'at had a good chance but he couldn't convert.

"Maybe next time when conditions are better things would be different. Nevertheless, this is a good test for us, good test for Australia and we are happy to have played this game," Avramovic reflected.

Socceroos' coach Pim Verbeek was satisfied with the result. "I am very happy with this game. It was a good test against a strong Singapore team that performed well tonight.

"The result is not the most important but losing is something which I really hate, so a draw is definitely a good result," Verbeek added.

Written by Syahrom Sulaiman