Singapore Premier League • August 1, 2018

Ikhsan and Irfan strike as Young Lions stun Tampines in Fandi affair


The siblings scored in a superb 2-1 comeback victory

Irfan and Ikhsan celebrate the former’s late winner.

SINGAPORE, 1 AUG 2018 – A remarkable slice of history went down on Wednesday night at Jalan Besar Stadium as two brothers scored for the same team, with their father at the helm, to secure victory in a football match.

Ikhsan and Irfan Fandi were the toast of the Young Lions as they scored in either half to overturn a one-goal deficit and stun Tampines Rovers FC in a 2-1 success in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL).

It also meant a first win in 10 attempts for the hosts against the Stags, as Fandi Ahmad was able to celebrate a unique success despite Amirul Adli breaking the deadlock midway through the first half.

Ikhsan tested goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari early on, but it was the visitors who slowly grew into the game.

A moment of brilliance from Adli in the 27th minute helped Tampines get the breakthrough with only their first shot on target of the night. Receiving the ball from Ryutaro Megumi 30 yards away from goal, the midfielder took a touch before slamming a right-footed effort into the bottom left corner for his second goal in three games.

But they failed to impose themselves and were hit three minutes before the break. Caught asleep by an incisive through-ball from Joshua Pereira, Ikhsan outpaced Fahrudin Mustafic before coolly slotting his finish past Syazwan to level with his sixth goal of the season.

The Young Lions would started the second half as the more energised side, with half-time substitute Haiqal Pashia turning his marker smartly before drawing a save from Syazwan.

Yet, it was the visitors who almost surged ahead again on 59 minutes, with Hami Syahin required to clear Adli’s header from a corner off the line.

Amri then forced Zharfan into action with an effort from just inside the area, while Adli was denied from range.

The Young Lions nearly landed a sucker punch with just four minutes left on the clock after Haiqal played a clever reverse pass for Naufal Azman, who wastefully shot straight at Syazwan.

But there was to be one final twist. Pashia, who had been bright all half, earned a free-kick 35 yards out with a minute left. Up stepped Irfan to strike it low and true into the bottom right corner, his effort too powerful for Syazwan’s hand to keep out as the Young Lions clinched their fifth win of the season.

Fandi’s charges remain in seventh, behind Balestier Khalsa FC on goal difference, while Tampines stayed second with Brunei DPMM FC lurking seven points behind and with three games in hand.

Tampines will take on bottom team Hougang United FC next on 12 August, while Young Lions will face DPMM three days later.

Young Lions Head Coach Fandi: “In the second half, we pushed and pushed; it was a good win for us as we fought very hard and the boys gave their best. In the first 30 minutes I thought we controlled them and our boys were very disciplined but lapses in midfield (cost us and we) didn’t pick up Adli (for their goal).

“Haiqal made an impact (when he came on); the last 15, 20 minutes, we were on top in the counter-attack. Overall, we stuck to our plan, we were more disciplined… more importantly, we got the three points. I’m happy for Nazhiim (Harman), who was a bit jittery in the first half but good in the second. Today we managed to contain Jordan (Webb) and (Ryutaro) Megumi, so I am happy with that.

“We practiced a lot with the free-kick. We told him (Irfan) just to blast the free-kick… I’m happy for the boys and it was the first time they are singing (in the dressing room after the game); we hardly beat top teams!”

Tampines Head Coach Juergen Raab: “I said to the team (before the match) that they had to prepare to face a highly-motivated team… We had to do our job and for me it was clear, they tried to surprise us and I’m not sure why my team could not bring (replicate) the same performances as in the last match.

“We started nervously, we were not so sharp, not so focused, not concentrating, and made easy mistakes. We had the lead, but we gave them the chance for the counter and gave them an equaliser. I hope we could have done better in the second half but the spirit was not what I think we could bring on the pitch. They scored the winner; maybe it’s a reward for what they have done today… but it was too easy to concede the goal from that distance.”

Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK)(C), Nazhiim Harman, Adam Hakeem (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 64′) , Joshua Pereira, Ikhsan Fandi, Hami Syahin (Syed Firdaus Hassan 87′), Irfan Fandi, Naufal Azman, Prakash Raj (Haiqal Pashia 46′), Rusyaidi Salime, Jacob Mahler.
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Danial Syafiq, Asshukrie Wahid, Amirul Hakim.

Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Madhu Mohana, Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Amirul Adli, Zulfadhmi Suzliman (Hafiz Sujad 71′), Ryutaro Megumi, Jordan Webb (Shah Shairan 85′), Irwan Shah, Yasir Hanapi, Khairul Amri, Irfan Najeeb (Shameer Aziq 68′).
Unused subs: Hariz Farid (GK), Haziq Razzali, Faizal Raffi.