Singapore Premier League • March 2, 2014

Mrdakovic On The Double As Tampines Sink Young Lions


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Miljan Mrdakovic’s double helped Tampines Rovers to a 3-2 victory over a spirited Courts Young Lions side at Clementi Stadium on Saturday night as they bounced back from their 5-0 hammering by Kitchee Sports Club in the AFC Cup earlier this week.

The Serbian forward struck midway through the first half to cancel out Iqbal Hussain’s early opener before firing home the winner seven minutes from time to seal all three points for Tampines and maintain their perfect start to the season.

This result moves the defending champions to joint-top with Brunei DPMM in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table, making it two wins in as many games.

The Young Lions got off to a bright start as they found themselves in front after just two minutes. After Jordan Webb’s effort was parried by Tampines goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma’at, Iqbal reacted the quickest to the rebound as he slotted into an empty net to make it 1-0.

After falling behind, the Stags tried to find a way back into the game but failed to find a way past Young Lions goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah with midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman and Mrdakovic coming close.

It did not take long for Rudy to be finally beaten though, as the 20-year-old was helpless to keep out Mrdakovic’s equaliser in the 22nd minute after Shahdan and Aleksandar Duric combined to provide him with the opportunity.

Tampines grew in confidence thereafter. Ang Zhi Wei saw his fierce drive tipped over the bar for a corner by Rudy a minute later before the former Gombak United goalkeeper denied Imran Sahib at full-stretch in the 35th minute.

Duric then handed the Stags the lead for the first time on 43 minutes as the evergreen striker slid the ball underneath Rudy as they went into the break with a slender one-goal lead.

Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar’s half-time team talk seemed to have worked wonders as Sherif El-Masri leveled things in the 63rd minute against the run of play. Nur Na’iim Ishak’s pass was deflected into the path of the Canadian and he smashed home past a hapless Hyrulnizam.

El-Masri was presented with an opportunity to put his side in front barely a minute later after pulling level, but dragged his shot wide at the back post under pressure.

That miss proved to be costly as Mrdakovic went on to score the winner. Latching onto a deep pass from Shahdan, he chested the ball down before rifling a low shot into the bottom corner to condemn the Young Lions to their second consecutive defeat of the season.