Singapore caretaker coach V Sundramoorthy said his side was unlucky to not end up on the winning side despite coming up with a "positive performance" in the Causeway Challenge clash against Malaysia on Friday.
The Lions dominated the play in front of almost 25,000 fans at the National Stadium in what was one of the fiercest rivalries in Southeast Asian football. However, Singapore were not able to convert the chances into goals against a relatively inexperienced Malaysian side.
Malaysia goalkeeper Khairulazhan Khalid was tested right from the opening stages of the match as the hosts got their first corner inside two minutes of the game only to see Daniel Bennett's header from Khairul Amri's cross go wide.
Sundramoorthy's side came to close to scoring just before the break when Amri hit the bar and Hariss Harun disturbed the woodwork again from a rebound. There was a penalty denied for Singapore as well in the second half, minutes before the crossbar came to Malaysia's rescue again.
After having lost three successive games, including a 3-1 defeat to Bahrain, after registering a win in his first match as caretaker in June, Sundramoorthy said the Lions' performance on Friday was among the best he has seen. The 51-year-old said his side will be motivated to take on Hong Kong on Tuesday in their next friendly game.
"It was a positive performance; the boys kept the ball well and were confident in possession. I believe we should have scored at least two to three goals, but that's football," Sundramoorthy was quoted as saying by The Football Association of Singapore's official site.
"It's one of our better performances at the National Stadium in front of almost 25,000 fans and it's good to see everyone supporting us.
"It was more difficult to hit the post than to put the ball in and, on any other day, they'd have all gone in.
"Now we have to build on this strong performance when we play Hong Kong and they're physically very strong to play against."
On the other hand, Sundramoorthy's Malaysian counterpart Ong Kim Swee said he was happy with the result his "brand-new" had produced. The controversial retirements of senior Johor Darul Ta'zim stars, including former captain Safiq Rahim, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak, Amirulhadi Zainal and S Kunalan has hampered the team's preparation for the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup in November.
Malaysia would have been happy with Saturday's result especially after the 3-0 loss to Indonesia last month. Kim Swee lauded his backline for snatching a goalless draw against an impressive Singapore side.
The Tigers will face Afghanistan on Tuesday before they head into their Suzuki Cup campaign at Myanmar and Philippines. Notably, Malaysia and Singapore will not meet in the group stages of the tournament. Kim Swee is also unsure whether he will be able to keep away from losing more players.
"This is a brand-new team, the back four is totally brand new - this is their first game together - and for them not to concede a goal, it is very good," Kim Swee was quoted as saying by The New Paper.
"There are so many things going on in Malaysian football now, I don't know. I hope I will actually have these players till then."