Singapore Premier League • September 20, 2015
Fazrul’s Brace Helps Warriors Avoid Defeat
Written by: Shawn Lim
Fazrul Nawaz scored twice in the second half to help Warriors FC force a 2-2 draw against Harimau Muda at Hang Jebat Stadium on Saturday evening.
Warriors were heading for a defeat after Syafwan Syahlan and Faris Shah netted two minutes apart to give Harimau Muda a 2-0 lead, until Fazrul rescued a point for Warriors with his brace.
However, the draw meant that Warriors still trail leaders Brunei DPMM by three points having played a game more, although they did move above Albirex Niigata (S) into second spot.
Both sides made a slow start in the first half as they tried to wrestle control of possession, until the Young Tigers raced into the lead with their first two shots on target.
The deadlock was broken in the 24th minute when Syafwan slalomed his way past two defenders before slamming the ball home from just outside the box.
Faris then doubled Harimau Muda two minutes later when he went on a run after receiving the ball in midfield and fired the ball into the net from 30 yards out.
Akhir Bahari had a chance to extend Harimau Muda’s lead in the 34th minute against the run of play when he raced into the area, but was denied by the woodwork.
A series of unnecessary fouls gave Warriors a number of free-kicks in a dangerous areas, but the visitors failed to capitalise.
While Miroslav Pejic did well to put one of those set-pieces on target right before half-time, Harimau Muda custodian Ilham Amirullah made a fine save at his near post.
The defending champions came out firing after the break though as they continued to chase the game, and were rewarded when Fazrul pulled a goal back with a header off Hafiz Rahim’s corner just nine minutes in.
The Young Tigers pressed forward in response and almost found their third goal when Akhir was put through on goal, only for the midfielder to send his shot sailing over the bar.
Akhir subsequently turned provider on the hour mark when he broke down the left and hit a cross for Azrul Nizam Muhammad, but the left-back could not direct his header on target.
Warriors continued pouring forward in search of an equalise and almost got it in the 69th minute.
However, an unmarked Fazrul was unable to apply the finishing touch as Ilham came off his line to claim before clashing into the striker.
Ilham had to be substituted after that because of injury and was replaced by Farhan Abu Bakar minutes later.
Five minutes later, Farhan was caught in no-man’s land in an one-on-one against Fazrul, and the Singapore international made no mistakes with his finish to complete Warriors’ comeback.
There was still enough time for Harimau Muda to grab the winning goal a minute from time, but an unmarked Akhir agonisingly failed to connect with Ridzuan Abdunloh’s cross in the 18-yard box, as the referee called an end to the proceedings.
Harimau Muda: Ilham Amirullah (GK) (Farhan Abu Bakar 72’), Annas Rahmat, Nazirul Hashim (C), Wan Ahmad Zafran, Azrul Nizam Muhammad, Akhir Bahari, Faris Shah (Irfan Zakaria 76’), Kenny Pallraj, Ridzuan Abdunloh Pula, Adam Nor, Syafwan Syahlan (Shahrul Igwan 70’)
Warriors FC: Shahul Rayyan (GK), Marcus Wheeler, Marin Vidosevic, Daniel Bennett (C), Irwan Shah, Emmeric Ong (Shi Jiayi 58’), Kevin McCann, Karlo Ivancic, Hafiz Rahim, Miroslav Pejic, Fazrul Nawaz