Singapore Premier League • May 30, 2018

Megumi stars as Tampines thrash Young Lions for second straight SPL win


The Japanese winger scored twice and made an assist as the Stags won 4-0

Ryutaro Megumi curls in his second and Tampines Rovers FC’s fourth goal.

SINGAPORE, 30 MAY 2018 – Tampines Rovers FC achieved back-to-back Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) wins for the first time this season with a 4-0 thumping of Young Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday night.

Ryutaro Megumi stole the show in the second half, playing in Amirul Adli to add to Fazrul Nawaz’s early opener before adding two late goals himself as the hosts failed to score in a league game for the first time this season.

Both sides made just one change to their line-ups and it was Tampines who started the brighter side despite having a lesser day of rest.

Fazrul got the first chance of the night on 10 minutes, with his snapshot from just inside the area smothered by Young Lions goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad.

A minute later, Yasir Hanapi somehow shot over from eight yards out after being teed up by Megumi.

The Stags took a deserved lead on 14 minutes when a free-kick was played short down the left flank to Shameer Aziq, who floated a superb ball into the area for Fazrul to head in off the bar.

That was the latter’s third goal in as many games, as he justified Juergen Raab’s decision to retain him in the starting line-up despite Khairul Amri’s return from suspension.

Playing their sixth and final match of the month, Fandi Ahmad’s charges looked a little jaded but could still have equalised before the break.

In-form Ikhsan Fandi made use of his pace and guile to get in behind the defence twice, but failed to finish both chances off.

On 31 minutes, he expertly evaded Daniel Bennett to get onto a slide-rule pass down the right but his shot from a tight angle was saved by Syazwan Buhari.

Five minutes later, the 19-year-old pulled the same trick to get the better of Tampines Captain Fahrudin Mustafic, only to be foiled by Syazwan again.

Tampines returned for the second half with renewed vigour and almost made it two on 53 minutes, with Jordan Webb seeing his close-range shot denied by Zharfan’s legs after capitalising on a quick free-kick.

The Young Lions responded strongly, but an equaliser remained elusive.

Haiqal Pashia – who replaced Aniq Iskandar at half-time – went agonisingly close in the 54th minute, as his curling shot just inside the area grazed the top of the crossbar.

Ikhsan then tried his luck from outside the area 11 minutes later, but his effort was straight at Syazwan.

Tampines made them pay for their profligacy as they doubled their lead in the 71st minute.

Amri made his presence felt immediately after coming on for Fazrul, guiding the ball to Megumi in a swift counter-attack. The latter then laid it on a platter for Adli, whose angled drive went in at the near post despite Zharfan appearing to have it covered.

Young Lions came close to halving the deficit on 80 minutes, but Irfan Fandi – now pushed upfront to get a goal – saw his header off Rusyaidi Salime’s lofted ball come off the woodwork.

That paved the way for Megumi to put on a show in added time.

On 91 minutes, the Japanese winger slalomed down the left and thrashed a superb left-footed finish into the top left corner.

Two minutes later, he cut inside his man from the left before curling past a stranded Zharfan with his favoured right peg to make it four goals in three games.

The two sides will meet again on Sunday night at Our Tampines Hub, where the Young Lions will have their chance at revenge.

Young Lions Head Coach Fandi: “You can see the difference between boys and men. We respected them too much and some players didn’t press enough. It’s not fitness, it’s more of (a) mental (issue). The boys were not fighting to the end like what we normally do and the mindset changed. Small details like letting them cross from the free kick… we need to polish up on that.

“We could have one or two, if we had more midfielders coming up to support and Ikhsan was a bit isolated. It’s tough for us on Sunday as we already have four injuries; I hope the boys turn up.”

Tampines Head Coach Raab: “Young Lions are in a different situation from last season and I’m sure they wanted to make a good result today. But we did well to control the whole game, except one situation in the first half and one situation in the second half.

“We had one less day of rest, but we were fresher and fitter. I have two very good strikers, which is a nice thing for a coach. Fazrul used the chance (when Amri was suspended) to play well and there was no reason to make a change; Amri then came and had some chances. That’s what we need – competition. It’s a good win and we’ll continue to fight for second; all other things are too far.”

Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Irfan Fandi, Taufiq Muqminin (C), Adam Hakeem, Rusyaidi Salime, Aniq Iskandar (Prakash Raj 46’), Hami Syahin, Syahrul Sazali, Joshua Pereira, Naufal Azman (Haiqal Pashia 41’), Ikhsan Fandi (Ifwat Ismail 74’).
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Nazhiim Harman, Danial Syafiq, Asshukrie Wahid.

Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Madhu Mohana (Irwan Shah 67’), Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Daniel Bennett, Shameer Aziq (Afiq Yunos 86’), Amirul Adli, Jordan Webb, Yasir Hanapi, Ryutaro Megumi, Fazrul Nawaz (Khairul Amri 69’), Zulfadhmi Suzliman.
Unused subs: Haikal Hasnol (GK), Haziq Razzali, Shah Shahiran, Faizal Raffi.

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