Singapore Premier League • March 24, 2014
Debutant Fazrul Strikes Twice to Down Harimau
Written by: Khalis Rifhan
Harimau Muda will have to wait for their first point in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League after suffering a 3-0 reverse to Home United, the defeat being the Young Tigers’ fourth consecutive loss this campaign.
Fazrul Nawaz made a sparkling debut for for the Protectors at Pasir Gudang Stadium on Sunday evening as he found the net in each half while Singapore international Qiu Li added the third late in the match.
Looking to snap their two-match losing streak in all competitions, Lee Lim Saeng’s charges started the match on the offensive.
Fazrul led the line and Lee Kwan Woo pulled the strings from midfield while Bruno Castanheira put on a lively display with flashy runs down the flanks along with crucial deliveries into the final third.
The trio combined with devastating effects as their efforts brought about the first goal in the 44th minute. Former South Korean international Lee Kwan Woo threaded a defence-splitting pass to Bruno Castanheira down the right flank and the latter squared the ball into the six yards box for a simple tap by Fazrul.
The former LionsXII forward was once again on target 10 minutes after the break.
A botched offside trap attempt by Harimau allowed Bruno to zip past his markers and he latched onto Qiu Li’s ball inside the penalty box. Although Bruno could have gone for goal himself, the ex-Albirex Niigata (S) player unselfishly laid the ball for Fazrul to score his second goal of the night.
Home sealed the match in the 86th minute as Qiu Li capped off the night with a brilliant solo effort. Evading the Harimau’s defence, the burly forward got onto the end of Lee’s ball before skillfully rounding Harimau custodian Ilham Amirullah to place the ball into an empty net.
Harimau were playing without captain Ashmawi Yakin and first-choice goalkeeper Ramdhan Hamid, with them both serving a two-match suspension.
Also unavailable for Razip Ismail were creative midfielder Afiq Fazail who is out with an ankle injury and defender Asri Mardzuki who has yet to gain medical clearance from the doctors to play due to him having an irregular heartbeat.
It might be a demoralising result for the Malaysian developmental outfit but the mainly 19 and 20-year-old players on the pitch never once threw in the towel and were constantly looking for ways to penetrate the visitors’ defence till the final whistle.
In the first half, Ramzi Haziq lofted the ball into the box and Syafwan Syahlan bullet a header towards goal but Home goalkeeper Shahril Jantan pulled off a point=blank save to deny the Malaysian.
Midway through the first half, Irfan Zakaria unleashed a speculative effort from 30 yards which flew inches above the bar.
Shahril was called to action again in the 74th minute as he pulled off a one-handed save to deny Nor Azam Azih’s brilliant curler which was destined for the top corner.
With the result, Harimau remain rooted to the bottom of the table while Home climbed to sixth position in the table.