News • April 23, 2014
AFC Cup Disappointment for Stags Yet Again
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Tampines Rovers’ AFC Cup campaign came to an end after a 1-0 defeat to Nay Pyi Taw at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday evening.
This result saw them crashing out at the group stages for the third consecutive year, after Tampines’ fate were left in their own hands.
Prior to the game, the hosts sat in second place in Group H on six points, and were one point ahead of Nay Pyi Taw.
However, the Stags were undone by former S.League player Carlos Delgado’s solitary goal, as the visitors grabbed the three points which were required to propel them over Tampines.
The slender victory was well-earned by the visitors, as they took the game to the Stags and created numerous opportunities to gain the win, as opposed to a Tampines side which failed to hit any shots on target.
In the first-half, Tampines could count themselves fortunate to go into the break with the score still levelled.
The first chance came in the 15th minute through Nay Pyi Taw striker Michelle Di Piedi, when he tested the hosts’ goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma’at with a fierce effort from 25 yards.
Three minutes later, Delgado released a powerful low volley from 20 yards out which flew at the wrong side of the post.
On the other hand, Salim Moin’s side were struggling to settle into the game and only had a couple of chances in the first half.
Mustafic Fahrudin’s free-kick from just outside the box went inches wide while Miljan Mrdakovic directed his header off Luis Closa’s cross towards the side netting in the 37th minute.
At the other end, Nay Pyi Taw continued their assault as Aung Kyaw Naing’s thunderous strike from the right towards the top corner was parried away by Hyrulnizam.
Minutes before the interval, Tampines central defender Shariff Samat bravely stood his ground to deny an umarked Khaing Htoo after a myriad of passes by the visitors found the latter in the danger area.
While the Stags did improve after the break, they were still finding it hard to contain Nay Pyi Taw.
Numerous half-chances came for the visitors, while Tampines had barely any to speak of.
Just when it seemed that Tampines were going to ride out the storm, Delgado struck them a blow which they never recovered from in the 79th minute.
In a mad goalmouth scramble from a Nay Pyi Taw corner, the ball was only cleared out as far as to the former Hougang United midfielder. Producing an immense effort, Delgado half-volleyed in a shot from the edge of the box beyond Hyrulnizam’s reach.
As much as Tampines tried to force an equaliser, they came nowhere close with another former S.League player and current Nay Pyi Taw defender Obadin Aikhena repeatedly halting their attacks.
The final whistle finally came after four minutes of added time, and the visitors and their fans broke out in raucous celebrations as they celebrated the win which helped them progress to the next stage of the competition at the expense of Tampines.