League Cup • July 8, 2014
Jaguars Blitz Past Stunned White Swans
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Tanjong Pagar United bounced back from their RHB Singapore Cup disappointment in style as they brushed aside Albirex Niigata (S) 4-0 in their opening StarHub League Cup Group A tie at Queenstown Stadium on Monday evening.
Sebastien Etiemble struck a brace on either side of half-time with Ahmad Latiff and Monsef Zerka both getting one each to wrap up a comfortable victory which saw them avenge their league defeats to the White Swans in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League.
In a first-half where chances were at a premium, Tanjong Pagar were the better team as they did a good job in keeping the Albirex attackers at bay and looked dangerous going forward.
It was hence no surprise when they took the lead in the tenth minute.
After Albirex had failed to clear their lines, the loose ball fell to Zerka who unselfishly squared it for Latiff to slot home the opener.
Zerka then came close in the 24th minute but saw his long-range attempt sail just over before Tengku Mushadad’s fierce drive was well-gathered by Albirex custodian Kenjiro Ogino.
However, Patrick Vallee’s charges would score a second on the stroke of half-time, as referee Muhd Taqi Jahari pointed to the spot after Latiff was adjudged to have been brought down by Ogino.
Up stepped Etiemble as he sent Ogino the wrong way from six yards to extend the lead for Tanjong Pagar who headed into the break with a two-goal cushion.
After the restart, Keisuke Ota flashed one wide just before the hour mark but the tie was effectively over as Albirex were helpless to prevent their opponents from adding another two in the space of five minutes.
It was Zerka who made it 3-0 on 68 minutes when he capitalised on a defensive error and raced through on goal before lifting the ball over an onrushing Ogino.
On 73 minutes, it was game set and match as Latiff turned provider once again when he poked the ball into the path of Etiemble who drilled a low finish into Ogino’s bottom corner to settle affairs.
Zerka could have gotten a second goal but was denied by Ogino in the 76th minute before Tengku’s powerful freekick was denied by the woodwork moments later.
However, the damage had already been done with Albirex slumping to a heavy defeat which has left them in a precarious position to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.