Singapore end Philippines' streak to put one foot in AFF Suzuki Cup semis

From the time Singapore last were last crowned champions of Southeast Asia in 2012, they have owned several unwanted records that have epitomised their struggles since.

One of those came to an end on Wednesday evening as they beat Philippines 2-1 in Group A of AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 -- a first over their regional rivals in nine years.

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With that, it also brought them one step closer to ending two more hoodoos that have plagued the Lions.

The first being a failure to reach the semifinals of the region's premier tournament, which they are now in the strongest position possible to do so with six points from their opening two matches.

Singapore coach Tatsuma Yoshida has been keen to maintain the narrative of taking it one game at time but, for centre-back Safuwan Baharudin -- Singapore's man of the match against Philippines and a member of the title-winning side of 2012 -- the situation they currently find themselves in one he knows they must take advantage of.

"Deep down, I knew we always struggled against Philippines and there was that bit of fear if it would happen again. After all, the last time we beat them was nine years ago," Safuwan told ESPN.

"But we've been playing a completely style of football under coach Tatsuma. He's given us the confidence to do so whereas previously, we were just hoping for the best and even defending for the full 90 minutes.

"It's timely to have broken that chain (of negative results against Philippines) and get these six points, which is also something we haven't gotten for quite some time. In recent times, we've always had to bring it down to the last game and then failed to qualify for the semifinals.

"I hope we grab this excellent opportunity and hopefully we can go really far."

Singapore will now sit out Match Day 3 but another victory in their next match -- against bottom side Timor-Leste -- could even seal their place in the last four with a game to spare.

Should they manage to break that duck by the time the group stage comes to a close, it would then be down to the last unwanted streak from 2012.

Actually winning the Suzuki Cup for the first time since then.