News • May 18, 2016

Stags Dominate Proceedings Against Warriors, But Left Frustrated Again

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Written by: Shawn Lim

Warriors FC held title favourites Tampines Rovers to a goalless draw at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Tuesday night.

The previous meeting between the two sides ended 4-2 in the Stags’ favour, but Warriors, who were playing their first game without recently departed head coach Jorg Steinebrunner, defended well this time to deny the visitors from taking maximum points again.

The Stags on the other hand, will rue the missed opportunity to cut the gap between themselves and Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League leaders Albirex Niigata (S) after dominating the match and enjoying the larger share of possession.

The draw was also Tampines’ second in the league in the month of May, sandwiched by a loss to Home United and leaves the Stags still searching for a win.

The home side, who restored Yazid Yasin to the starting lineup for the first time since the goalkeeper was sent off in the reverse fixture three weeks ago, almost got lucky in the ninth minute when Jonathan Behe charged down Tampines custodian Izwan Mahbud’s clearance.

To the relief of the visitors, Izwan recovered in time to block the Frenchman’s shot and the ball bounced out harmlessly for a goal kick.

The Stags had an opportunity themselves to break the deadlock two minutes later when Billy Mehmet rose the highest at the far post to meet Jermaine Pennant’s curling free-kick, but sent his header just over the bar.

The hosts wasted a wonderful chance to open the scoring in the 23rd minute when Hafiz Sulaiman found Hafiz Nor with a long cross-field pass from inside his own half, but the latter fired just over the bar with Izwan at full stretch.

Yazid then got down well at his far post four minutes later to to turn away Pennant’s dangerous free-kick that look destined for the bottom corner of the net.

Tampines continued to threaten and could have taken the lead in the 35th minute when Ismadi Mukhtar’s inch-perfect cross found an unmarked Fazrul in the 18-yard box, but the striker’s header whizzed over the crossbar.

Pennant tried his luck with another one of his dangerous free-kick three minutes before the break, but saw his shot go into the side-netting instead.

The Stags tested Yazid early in the second-half when the goalkeeper had to pull off a point-blank save two minutes after the break to deny Yasir Hanapi’s shot from Fazrul’s cut-back in the 18-yard box.

Tampines continued to dominate proceedings and good build-up play in the 57th minute saw them coming close again when Pennant played Fazrul through on goal, but Yazid was quick off his line to block the striker’s shot.

Pennant had a golden opportunity to put his side ahead five minutes after the hour mark when he dazzled his way past two defenders and into the box, but could only shoot straight at Yazid.

Mehmet subsequently laid the ball off for a lurking Yasir outside the box in the 76th minute, but the latter fired an effort from 20-yards that flew inches past the goalpost.

Warriors had threatened little until the 80th minute and almost went ahead when Kento Fukuda met Hafiz Nor’s corner at the far post, but headed the ball narrowly over the bar.

The best chance of the game fell to Hafiz Sujad a minute later when the winger found himself in an one-on-one situation with Yazid after nicking the ball off Zulfadli Zainal, but fired wide of the goal.

Warriors FC interim coach Razif Onn: “When we draw, especially with Tampines Rovers, it’s a good job for a start. That’s important for the team.

“For sure, if we don’t score goals, it’s always very disappointing. But I think I must appreciate with the result they gave me today because it’s much more than I expected.”

Tampines Rovers coach V.Sundramoorthy: “After the defeat against Home (United) and draw against Hougang (United), this is a match where we wanted to get full points. I think we created enough on the day that we could have scored four, but the ball refused to go in.

“We have to accept this is part of the game, if you don’t convert the chance. The boys did well to create a number of chances to finish the game. What to do? We have to stay positive.”

Warriors FC: Yazid Yasin (GK), Zulfadli Zainal (C), Ismail Yunos (Emmeric Ong 76′), Kento Fukuda, Hafiz Osman, Nikola Rak, Hafiz Nor, Hafiz Sulaiman (Hafiz Rahim 67′), Fazli Jaffar, Syaqir Sulaiman (Ridhuan Muhamad 84′), Jonathan Behe

Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar, Mustafic Fahrudin (C), Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah, Hafiz Sujad (Christopher Van Huizen 90′), Izzdin Shafiq, Yasir Hanapi, Jermaine Pennant, Billy Mehmet, Fazrul Nawaz (Jordan Webb 72′)