Singapore Premier League • March 28, 2014
Late Stags’ Resurrection Ensures Three Points
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Tampines Rovers came from two goals down to beat Harimau Muda 3-2 at the Clementi Stadium on Thursday evening to maintain their perfect start to the 2014 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season.
Second-half strikes from Akhir Bahari and Nurshamil Abd Ghani gave the Young Tigers a comfortable two-goal cushion but the final ten minutes saw Tampines score thrice as they emerged victorious.
Minutes after coming on, Noh Alam Shah reduced the deficit before Miljan Mrdakovic equalised in the third minute of injury time. The comeback was completed when substitute Roberto Martinez popped up with the winner with seconds left to send the home crowd going wild.
It was the Stags who threatened first after five minutes when Jamil Ali’s shot from inside the area was deflected over before Norihiro Kawakami’s goalward header was hacked off the line.
Aleksandar Duric then had opportunities to open the scoring but first glanced a free header wide before he was denied by Harimau Muda goalkeeper Ilham Amirullah who pulled off a reflex save down low.
The Young Tigers on the other hand grew in confidence thereafter and even created a number of goalscoring chances.
Hyrulnizam Juma’at had to be alert to come off his line on 31 minutes to thwart Akhir Bahari before Kawakami denied Ramzi Haziq with the follow-up.
Tampines then almost conceded in the 36th minute when Abdil Qaiyyim nearly poked Ramzi’s low cross past his own keeper but it came off the bar, much to the relief of Hyrulnizam.
After the break, Tampines found themselves behind in the 66th minute after Akhir’s shot was deflected off Ismadi Mukhtar as it rolled past a wrong-footed Hyrulnizam and into the bottom corner.
Buoyed by the opener, Harimau extended their lead in the 73rd minute. A pass from Akhir found Nurshamil who took a touch before firing past Hyrulnizam to make it 2-0.
It could have been three goals to the good for Razip Ismail’s side five minutes later but both Nurshamil and Akhir were unable to find a way past Hyrulnizam as the miss proved costly.
Alam Shah led the way for the comeback in the 85th minute, lashing a low shot beyond Ilham after latching onto Mrdakovic’s pass.
It then became 2-2 when Mrdakovic tapped home from close range after Alam Shah’s header was parried into his path.
Martinez completed the comeback deep into stoppage time as he nodded a Duric cross past a hapless Ilham to seal Tampines’ fifth win in as many games.