League Cup • July 13, 2014
Agu’s Hat-Trick Lead Warriors To Victory
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Agu Casmir grabbed a hat-trick as he helped Warriors FC to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Tampines Rovers in a StarHub League Cup Group B match at Clementi Stadium on Saturday evening.
It was however not a straightforward win as the visitors had to dig deep for the win, having trailed 2-1 at the break to goals from Jacob Butler and Fahrudin Mustafic.
Coming out with all guns blazing, Tampines started strongly and took an early lead after just eight minutes.
Miljan Mrdakovic saw his powerful header pushed around the post by a flying Neezam Aziz, who was deputising for first-choice Hassan Sunny. From the resulting corner, Butler scrambled home the loose ball for 1-0.
Jozef Kaplan could have extended the tally moments later, but Neezam did well this time to parry the Slovakian’s effort on ten minutes.
However, Tampines’ lead did not last long as Agu would equalise on 12 minutes when he latched onto Kevin McCann’s through pass before calmly placing it past Ridhuan Barudin.
From another set-piece situation though, the defending Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League regained the lead in the 23 minutes as Mustafic glanced home Kaplan’s corner delivery at the near post.
There were a couple of half-chances thereafter as Warriors’ Nicholas Velez and Tampines’ Ang Zhi Wei came close but were unable to find the net as the Stags took a slender one-goal lead into the break.
Having started with an unorthodox 3-4-3 formation, coach Alex Weaver rang the changes at half-time and switched back to a 4-4-2 with Warriors looking a different side in the second-half.
Barely a minute after the restart, Agu restored parity as he notched his second of the night when he raced free down the right and lifted the ball over an onrushing Ridhuan who was caught in no man’s land.
Velez almost put Warriors ahead for the first time in the match in the 49th minute, but Casmir completed his hat-trick two minutes later which was assisted by the former to seal victory.
After rounding Ridhuan, the Argentine forward unselfishly cut the ball back for the unmarked Agu who was left with a simple tap-in to give Warriors three points in their Group B opener.
The Stags pushed forward in numbers in the closing stages but were ultimately unable to find a way past a resilient Warriors defence once more as they find themselves at the foot of the table which leaves them with only the Plate to fight for in the competition.