Tampines Come Out On Top In Five-Goal Thriller
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Tampines Rovers moved into second spot in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League standings after edging Home United 3-2 in an exciting affair at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
First-half goals from Khairul Amri, Shakir Hamzah and Daniel Bennett rendered Amiruldin Asraf’s brace on either side of half-time inconsequential as Home fell to their first defeat in seven league games.
Juergen Raab’s side took the game to the designated visitors from the get go, with Fazli Ayob and Ryutaro Megumi coming close inside the first ten minutes.
However, Home took the lead against the run of play in the 13th minute with Amiruldin calmly slotting the ball past an onrushing Joey Sim - who was deputising for the injured Izwan Mahbud.
Amri could have levelled matters for the Stags three minutes later but his header off Shahdan Sulaiman’s corner flew narrowly over the bar.
There was no denying Amri though, as the Singapore international sneaked in unmarked to thump home teammate Shahdan’s corner to pull Tampines level in the tie.
Song Uiyoung’s low drive trickled harmlessly wide in the 38th minute before Amri’s ambitious effort moments later went straight into the arms of Hassan.
Goals in the space of four first-half minutes would then put the Stags in the driving seat.
An unmarked Shakir finished off a well-worked move at the far post in the 41st minute, before Bennett nodded home off yet another Shahdan corner delivery on the stroke of half-time.
Tampines continued from where they left off and Amri could have netted two minutes after the restart but volleyed well over from six yards out.
Minutes after the hour mark, the lively Megumi then unleashed a long-range shot that just cleared the bar.
The Protectors threw everything at the Stags thereafter and managed to reduce the deficit eight minutes from time when Amiruldin latched onto Abdil Qayyim’s through pass before squeezing the ball underneath Sim.
Song nearly rescued a point for the Bishan-based side in the 85th minute but the South Korean saw his low shot deflected for a corner.
Yasir could have gotten his name on the scoresheet in the dying moments of the match, but he was denied by a flying save from Hassan as the Stags hung on for their fourth straight victory in the league.
Tampines Rovers Head Coach Juergen Raab: “It was a totally deserved win and I’m proud to be able to beat a strong team like Home today. I’m very happy with the reaction from the boys after they conceded first - a goal that came from nothing.
“It was a good game of football from both sides, with pace and intensity. The Tampines team is always capable of scoring goals and we should have scored more, but this was a good result for us in our title bid.”
Home United Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “ We tried to keep our unbeaten run but failed, that’s football. We have to look forward now, there’s nothing else we can do. We can’t give up because we lose one game. It’s only the first round and there are still two more rounds to go.
“We lost concentration and were made to pay for it, simple as that. But credit to Tampines, they are an experienced team who knows how to control the game.
“The boys have to learn that teams will come back at you after taking the lead and that’s what happened today.”
Tampines Rovers: Joey Sim (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar (Jufri Taha 79’), Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Son Yong Chan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Ryutaro Megumi, Shakir Hamzah, Fazli Ayob (Madhu Mohana 90'), Daniel Bennett, Yasir Hanapi, Khairul Amri (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 76’) Home United:
Hassan Sunny (GK, C), Hariss Harun, Afiq Yunos, Juma’at Jantan (Marijan Suto 29’), Abdil Qaiyyim, Song Uiyoung, Faris Ramli, Sirina Camara (Sufianto Salleh 55’), Shamil Sharif, Amiruldin Asraf, Christopher van Huizen (Haziq Azman 76’)