Singapore Premier League • May 26, 2018

Ikhsan Fandi strikes for third game running to salvage Young Lions draw with Warriors


Uniformed side go 10 games without victory in Singapore Premier League, end match with 10 men

Ikhsan Fandi scored his third goal in as many games.

SINGAPORE, 26 MAY 2018 – Ten-man Warriors FC continued their worst-ever start to a season as they went ten games without victory after playing out a 1-1 draw with Young Lions in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.

Delwinder Singh opened the scoring in the 37th minute but Hafiz Sulaiman’s 63rd-minute sending off handed Young Lions a numerical advantage, which they made count when Ikhsan Fandi equalised shortly after for his third goal in as many games.

Chances were at a premium initially, but Warriors should have scored in the 18th minute. Ismadi Mukhtar swung in a decent cross towards Nur Luqman but the latter could not get a clean strike off and the ball rolled agonisingly wide.

Sahil Suhaimi wasted a similar chance after getting onto Shamil Sharif’s long diagonal ball, failing to get his header on target in the 23rd minute.

The opener finally arrived when Jonathan Behe met Shamil’s looping free-kick at the far post and headed it back across for Delwinder to easily prod over the line.

The Young Lions had chances to equalise before the break. Syahrul Sazali sent Naufal Azman free but with only Mukundan Maran to beat, he hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper.

From the resulting corner, Hami Syahin’s cross was narrowly missed by Taufiq Muqminin.

It was a different second half, with the game seeing more clear-cut opportunities and there should have been a goal seven minutes after the restart.

Substitute Ignatius Ang delivered a cross towards Sahil, whose fierce shot was smartly saved by Zharfan.

Just past the hour mark, Hafiz received his second yellow card for a silly challenge to leave his side a man down.

The visitors still could have scored in the 66th minute as Ang again delivered a superb cross to Sahil, who seemed certain to score until Zharfan put in a superb block.

That allowed the Young Lions to fight their way back into the game and they duly obliged two minutes later.

Syahrul showed outstanding pace to beat his marker to Hami’s defence-splitting pass and darted into the box to draw Mukundan out, before he cut the ball back for Ikhsan to stab home and continue his outstanding scoring streak.

Haiqal Pashia and Irfan Fandi came close next with their respective efforts as the Young Lions pushed for a winner, but ultimately time ran out and both sides had to settle for a point.

The Young Lions will continue their gruelling run of games three days later as they take on Tampines Rovers FC at Jalan Besar Stadium on 30 May. Meanwhile, Warriors will return to Choa Chu Kang Stadium to face Hougang United FC on 2 June.

Young Lions Head Coach Fandi Ahmad: “We were very cautious in the first half and we were not pushing forward enough. After they (Warriors) got the red card, we pushed more and we really opened up their defence. It was a good game, we could have snatched a winner. We made some mistakes in the first half which resulted in that goal – the man marking wasn’t there. We also managed to keep Jonathan Behe quiet. Overall it was a good experience for the team. We came back very strong but we should have pushed more.”

Warriors Head Coach Mirko Grabovac: “We controlled the game in the first half. In the second half, we got a red card which was a little harsh. After that, we had two 100 per cent chances (where we should have scored). It is disappointing, if you don’t score and opponents score, and this is what we got today. Today for us, even with ten players, we had that chance to win the game. This is not a problem of how they play. It’s the result that is the problem now.”

Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Irfan Fandi, Taufiq Muqminin (C), Rusyaidi Salime, Adam Hakeem, Syahrul Sazali (Amirul Hakim 90’+2), Hami Syahin, Joshua Pereira, Asshukrie Wahid (Haiqal Pashia 46’), Naufal Azman (Ifwat Ismail 83’), Ikhsan Fandi.
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Nazhiim Harman, Syed Firdaus Hassan, R. Aaravin.

Warriors FC: Mukundan Maran (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar, Delwinder Singh, Kento Fukuda (C), Ho Wai Loon, Shamil Sharif (Poh Yi Feng 78’), Nur Luqman (Ignatius Ang 46’), Hafiz Sulaiman, Emmeric Ong, Jonathan Behe, Sahil Suhaimi (Suria Prakash 69’).
Unused subs: Bryan Quek (GK), Fazli Shafie, Fadhil Noh, Bryan Quek, Firdaus Kasman.

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