Singapore Premier League • May 8, 2014
Harimau Earn Precious First Win
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Harimau Muda finally earned their first points and win of the season as they beat Woodlands Wellington 1-0 at Pasir Gudang Stadium, thanks to Ramzi Sufian’s solitary goal in the second half.
The Rams did come into the game as favourites on paper, however they did not enjoy a walk in the park in the first half with Harimau putting up a good fight.
The Young Tigers were compact in defence and midfield, and denied Atsushi Shimono time and space to spray passes to his forwards Chang Jo Yoon and Moon Soon Ho.
Woodlands thought they had broke the deadlock halfway through the first half but Moon’s tap-in into an open net was ruled offside.
Shahrul Igwan then saw his shot from the left parried away by Woodlands goalkeeper Yazid Yasin a minute later to deny Harimau the lead.
The actions in the first half was concluded when Akhir Bahari saw his free-kick hit the wrong side of the net in the 38th minute.
It was only after the interval that both teams settled down in the game and started to make inroads into each other’s halves.
While Shahrul had his rocket saved by Yazid in the 50th minute, Chang saw his half-volley at the other end bounce off the ground and safely landing into the arms of Ilham Amirullah.
The hosts then took the lead in the 58th minute when Azrul Nizam whipped in a cross for Ramzi to blast a deflected finish from close range into the top corner after the Woodlands defence failed to clear the ball.
Harimau packed their midfield so tight thereafter that the only resort Woodlands had was to pump forward long balls, which proved ineffective as well.
Substitute Faiz Ali could have made it two but his header off Shahrul’s cross just whizzed past the post.
Woodlands’ best opportunity in the second half was 15 minutes from time when Chang’s free-kick right at the edge of the penalty box flew inches over the crossbar.
The Young Tigers remained stubborn towards the end of the game and allowed minimal opportunities for Woodlands, as the Rams suffered a shock defeat to the cellar-dwellars of the league.