Singapore Cup • June 28, 2014
Confident Tampines Wary of Jaguars’ Threat
RHB Singapore Cup Quarter-Final First Leg
Tampines Rovers vs Tanjong Pagar United
(June 27, Friday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
A confident Tampines Rovers side will take on Tanjong Pagar United in their RHB Singapore Cup Quarter-Final first leg tie at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.
The Stags are on a four-match unbeaten run in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League and come into this after a 2-0 win over Balestier Khalsa in their last game and will be looking to make it five on the trot in all competitions.
The appointment of Rafi Ali – who replaced Salim Moin – as head coach in particular has instilled belief back into the Tampines side and they trail league leaders Brunei DPMM by a mere three points.
Versatile player Ismadi Mukhtar is just one of the players who has benefitted as he has seen himself start games of late and he is expected to feature again, provided he shakes off a knock which forced him to be replaced in their last game.
Evergreen Aleksandar Duric could also play some part in this game having made his return to action against the Tigers when he came on just before the hour mark despite having just recovered from a dengue virus.
When asked about what he thought of their chances, Rafi stated they would take it ‘one game at a time’ and acknowledged the importance of rest having played Balestier just three days ago.
“Rest, because we only have two days to the game. We have tomorrow and Thursday to prepare. There’s not much i can do in two days but to let them rest and we will play again on Friday,” said the 42-year-old.
Tampines needed to go all the way to penalties to triumph in the Preliminary Round encounter against a spirited Harimau Muda side to reach the last eight of the competition.
They will therefore have to be wary of the Jaguars who pose a different threat as compared to Harimau as the 2013 finalists will be seeking for some salvation from a disappointing league season thus far.
Tanjong Pagar are currently languishing in the bottom half of the table and find themselves in tenth spot, four spots below from where they finished last year and will have to contend with a bottom half finish this season.
In the Preliminary Round, Patrick Vallee’s side overcame Hougang United 1-0 thanks to Monsef Zerka’s headed goal.
Unfortunately, Zerka has not hit the heights of last season where he netted twelve times in the league and this is partly down to injuries and suspensions.
Without partner-in-crime Kamel Ramdani for the first few games, the Moroccan forward has been shorn of service and as a result, has been unable to find the net as much as he desires although Sebastien Etiemble has proved to be a decent replacement.
However, as demonstrated last year when they went all the way to the final, they have the ability to spring a surprise or two and could possibly spring another one here as they seek to prove they are no pushovers despite the state they are currently in.
Tampines Rovers – WDWWL
24/6/14 Balestier Khalsa 0-2 Tampines Rovers
19/6/14 Tampines Rovers 1-1 Hougang United
13/6/14 Harimau Muda 0-1 Tampines Rovers
10/6/14 Tampines Rovers 2-1 Brunei DPMM
6/6/14 Geylang International 1-0 Tampines Rovers
Tanjong Pagar United – LLWWL
23/6/14 Warriors FC 4-1 Tanjong Pagar United
18/6/14 Tanjong Pagar United 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
12/6/14 Tanjong Pagar United 3-0 Courts Young Lions
7/6/14 Woodlands Wellington 0-2 Tanjong Pagar United
4/6/14 Tanjong Pagar United 0-3 Balestier Khalsa