Singapore Premier League • June 30, 2018
Khairul Amri strikes treble as Tampines put five past Balestier
The Singapore international starred in a 5-2 victory to walk home with the match ball
Khairul Amri was in lethal form for Tampines Rovers FC.
SINGAPORE, 30 JUNE 2018 – Tampines Rovers FC saw off a decimated Balestier Khalsa FC 5-2 at Toa Payoh Stadium on Saturday evening to notch their second straight Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) victory.
Khairul Amri stole the headlines with a hat-trick and though Hazzuwan Halim and Akbar Shah Zainudeen struck for the hosts, further goals from Irfan Najeeb and Jordan Webb condemned them to a heavy defeat.
It took nine minutes for the second-placed visitors to turn their pressure into a tangible reward against a Balestier side missing foreign duo Vedran Mesec and Keegan Linderboom through injury and first-team regulars Fadli Kamis and Huzaifah Aziz through suspension.
Irfan, who scored the winning goal in the reverse fixture in May, haunted the Tigers again by sending a looping header off Yasir Hanapi’s corner into the top corner to open the scoring.
Five minutes later, the visitors came close again but Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam was equal to Webb’s stabbed effort.
However, against the run of play, Balestier found an equaliser in the 21st minute. Irfan went from hero to villain after fouling Hazzuwan in the box and the latter sent his spot-kick into the bottom corner to level the score.
The reprieve lasted barely six minutes though. Amirul Adli’s lob sent Webb away and although his shot was parried away by Zaiful, the ball fell for Amri to tap into an empty goal.
A wonderful ball from Ryutaro Megumi set Yasir free down the right on 52 minutes and he was able to pick out Webb, whose fierce drive came off the bar.
A minute later, the hosts threatened to equalise for the second time. Hazzuwan played a clever pass to an unmarked Akbar and he tested Syazwan Buhari with a stinging shot, which the goalkeeper pushed away.
The Tigers resistance appeared to be killed off on 70 minutes when Noor Akid Nordin took out Webb and conceded a free-kick that Yasir floated into the box for Amri to head home his second of the night.
But Balestier set up a nervy finale four minutes later. Debutant Sanjin Vrebac picked Shah Shahiran’s pocket 30 yards out from the Tampines goal and laid the ball off to Akbar, who powered into the box and neatly side-stepped Daniel Bennett before smashing a fine finish into the bottom right corner.
However, disaster then struck for Balestier on 90 minutes. Sufianto Salleh’s back-pass was short and Megumi easily intercepted it before teeing up Amri to tap in his hat-trick goal.
Tampines then placed the icing on the cake deep in injury time, with Webb grabbing a deserved goal as he drilled a shot past Zaiful to inflict a third straight defeat on the home side.
Tampines will host Brunei DPMM FC next on 4 July, while Balestier will get an extended break before taking on Home United FC on 15 July.
WHAT THEY SAID
Balestier Head Coach Marko Kraljevic: “We played well but set-pieces killed us. Our marking was not good. You cannot say Tampines played an excellent game, but they used the set-pieces to kill us off and the last two minutes was us pushing and had nothing to lose, so they had space and individual players who can finish off the games and that made the difference.”
Tampines Head Coach Juergen Raab: “If you follow all the results here in Toa Payoh, nobody normally wins… (by scoring) five goals, like we have done today. This team is very hard to play on this pitch. So after our quick lead, we did not play with the necessary style… but the reaction from the team was very good. We controlled the match and always looked to create attacks.”
Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Nurisham Jupri, Nurullah Hussein, Hazzuwan Halim, Sufianto Salleh, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Khairuddin Omar (Fariz Faizal 33’), Ahmad Syahir, Akbar Shah Zainudeen, Noor Akid Noordin (Daniel Hazreel 86’), Sanjin Vrebac.
Unused subs: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Nazri Sabri (GK), Khalili Khalif, Shaqi Sulaiman, Afiq Salman Tan.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Amirul Adli, Ryutaro Megumi, Jordan Webb, Shameer Aziq (Shah Shahiran 72’), Daniel Bennett, Irwan Shah (Hafiz Sujad 63’), Yasir Hanapi, Khairul Amri, Irfan Najeeb (Madhu Mohaha 46’).
Unused subs: Haikal Hasnol (GK), Zulfadhmi Suzliman, Fazrul Nawaz, Faizal Raffi.