Singapore Premier League • May 17, 2014

Harimau Defy Odds To Stun Tanjong Pagar


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Slightly over a week after their triumph over Woodlands Wellington which saw them pick up their first points of the 2014 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season, Harimau Muda beat Tanjong Pagar United 2-1 to register their second straight win at Jalan Besar Stadium in the week’s televised match on Friday evening.

Shahrul Igwan was the hero on the night for the Young Tigers as he struck the winner four minutes  from time after an own goal from Azrul Nizam Muhammad had cancelled out Ramzi Sufian’s 14th-minute opener.

Tanjong Pagar coach Patrick Vallee named Ahmad Latiff as captain on his return to the team and he started alongside Tengku Mushaded in the heart of defence while Ramdhan Hamid was picked as the man between the sticks for Harimau where he put in a good showing which included a penalty save.

Harimau defended resiliently throughout as they took the game to the visitors, closing down quickly each time a Tanjong Pagar player had possession.

However, they were dealt a blow early in the game when defender Abdullah Suleiman was knocked out unconscious by Ramdhan as both went for the same ball and was subsequently replaced.

In spite of the setback, Harimau took the lead in the 14th minute through forward Ramzi Sufian as he unleashed a volley which sailed past Aurelien Herisson who was rooted to the spot and could only watch on.

It was back to the wall stuff for Harimau after they went in front as they came under pressure from the Jaguars who were determined to find a way back into the game.

Kamel Ramdani thought he had found the equaliser for Tanjong Pagar four minutes after the opener, but his tap-in from close range was disallowed for offside.

The Jaguars then had further reason to feel aggrieved on the half-hour mark when referee Sukhbir Singh awarded a penalty for a foul on Monsef Zerka by Azrul Nizam even though Asraf Rashid had slotted a cross into goal.

Etiemble stepped up from the spot but the French midfielder saw his penalty saved by Ramdhan who went on to keep out Ramdani’s follow-up shot.

Harimau’s persistence was however finally broken in first-half stoppage time when Syawal Nordin nodded Asraf’s Rashid deep cross into his own net as they were denied a lead going into the break.

Tanjong Pagar started the second-half the way they ended the first as they came close twice in the space of three minutes through Firdaus Idros.

The former Home United winger first blasted over from an Asraf cross before he took a touch too many and allowed the Harimau defence to dispel the danger.

Etiemble then forced Ramdhan to a superb reflex save with a dipping effort from 25 yards but the Young Tigers were awarded a penalty in the 86th minute after Ahmad Latiff tripped Ramzi.

Unlike Etiemble, Shahrul converted his spotkick, sending Aurelien Herisson the wrong way from the spot as the Malaysians celebrated staying unbeaten for the second consecutive match for the first time this season.