Singapore progressed in Asian World Cup qualifying on Thursday after a 1-1 draw with Malaysia, advancing 6-4 on aggregate.

Seeking to overturn a 5-3 deficit from the first leg, Malaysia went ahead 1-0 on a goal by Safee Sali in the 58th minute. Shi Jiayi equalized for Singapore in the 73rd minute and the visitors held firm to secure the draw.

Singapore advanced to the group-stage third round alongside regional heavyweights such as Japan and Australia.

Singapore was the more organised side in the first half, forcing the Malaysians to stick to defending due to insufficient inspiration in their midfield.

S. Kunanlan orchestrated Malaysia's first goal by outmaneuvering two Singapore players before passing the ball to a lurking Safee.

Shi scored his goal from a counterattack to beat 'keeper Khairul Fahmi, who made several saves earlier in the match.

Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic said his team ''got what we wanted'' in front of 85,000 mostly hostile fans at Kuala Lumpur's Bukit Jalil Stadium.

''Malaysia played very good football but we played better, '' Avramovic said. ''We scored one goal but missed two or three good chances.''

However, Avramovic claimed Japanese referee Takayama Hiroyoshi ''had a poor game.''

''It resulted in Malaysia's opening goal. My players stopped playing, thinking that the referee was going to whistle for a foul on Kunanlan before he passed the ball to Safee,'' Avramovic said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he remained proud of the home team, urging the players to ''learn from this defeat and continue working to improve their performance in the future.''