Singapore Premier League • March 26, 2014
Stags Aim To Extend Winning Run Against Harimau Muda
Tampines Rovers vs Harimau Muda
(March 27, Thursday, 7.30pm, Clementi Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Reigning Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League champions Tampines Rovers will look to continue their winning ways when they welcome a point-less Harimau Muda to Clementi Stadium.
The Stags snatched a last-gasp goal in their 2-1 win over Brunei DPMM in their last match to inflict on Steve Kean’s side their first defeat of the season and preserved their 100% record in the process.
Despite trailing to an early Roberto Alviz goal from Roberto Alviz, Tampines rallied and overturned the deficit thanks to second-half strikes from Miljan Mrdakovic and Shahdan Sulaiman with the latter sealing his side’s fourth win on the trot at the death.
On the other hand, Harimau are still without a point this season and four consecutive defeats have left them at the bottom of the table.
They slumped to another 3-0 defeat at the hands of Home United in their last game. A Fazrul Nawaz double coupled with Qiu Li’s late goal was enough for the Protectors to see off Harimau at Pasir Gudang.
In the absence of midfielder Afiq Fazail who was sidelined due to an ankle injury, the Young Tigers struggled to make any headway going forward.
However, they did manage to conjure a couple of good chances but were let down by poor finishing and a strong performance by Home custodian Shahril Jantan.
Also missing from the side were captain Ashmawi Yakin and goalkeeper Ramdhan Hamid due to suspension and their presence were sorely missed at the back. They will continue to miss out as they serve the final match of their two-match ban.
Coach Razip Ismail admitted after that match that it has not been easy and conceded that they were always going to be underdogs.
“I think it is getting tougher for us because the first four games we played stronger opponents, not to say we are not good, but our opponents are getting better and stronger, they are better than us,” he said.
If past results are any indication, then Tampines will go into this one as favourites having won all four encounters with Harimau in the league.
Suspension: Ashmawi Yakin (Harimau), Ramdhan Hamid (Harimau)
Key Men To Watch
Tampines Rovers: Luis Closa
InStat showed that Closa has been a dangerman for the Stags, as the playmaker is keenly involved in all build-up plays of his team.
His ability to find to the target from distance or release his teammates with a clever pass is what makes him so dangerous, and Harimau Muda needs to keep this player in check if they want to survive a meeting with the reigning champions.
Harimau Muda: Ilham Amirullah
What has costed the young Malaysian side points has been their abysmal defending. The side has let in three goals per game in their last three matches, and that is one too many goals to concede per game.
With Ramdhan Hamid sitting out through suspension, Ilham should be starting in goal for his team. The youngster needs to step up and be on his toes, especially against the Stags who have scored in every game so far.
Tampines Rovers – WWWLW
23/3/14 Brunei DPMM 1-2 Tampines Rovers
19/3/14 Tampines Rovers 3-1 Pune FC (AFC Cup)
16/3/14 Tampines Rovers 3-0 Geylang International
12/3/14 Nay Pyi Taw 3-1 Tampines Rovers (AFC Cup)
1/3/14 Tampines Rovers 3-2 Courts Young Lions
Harimau Muda – LLLLD
23/3/14 Harimau Muda 0-3 Home United
12/3/14 Warriors FC 3-0 Harimau Muda
27/2/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-0 Harimau Muda
24/2/14 Harimau Muda 1-2 Tanjong Pagar United
5/11/13 Warriors 1-1 Harimau Muda
Head to Head (S.League)
3/7/13 Harimau Muda 3-0 Tampines Rovers
24/3/13 Tampines Rovers 2-1 Harimau Muda
2/11/12 Tampines Rovers 1-0 Harimau Muda
13/5/12 Harimau Muda 2-3 Tampines Rovers