Singapore Premier League • June 15, 2014

Rafi Happy Despite Slender Win


Written by: Khalis Rifhan

Although Tampines Rovers could only muster a slender 1-0 win over Harimau Muda, coach Rafi Ali was delighted that his side managed to take home maximum points and keep pace with Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League leaders Brunei DPMM who will take on Geylang International on Saturday night.

“On paper it’s like a forgone conclusion but this is football,” said Rafi whose side was now in third place levelled on 31 points with Warriors FC and DPMM.

“Our objective coming here is to get the three points and go home. We have achieved that so I am very please with the players.”

Rafi insist that it was never a smooth ride whenever they play against team at the bottom half of the table.

“I told my boys I am not worried about paying big teams but when we play against these kind of teams (Harimau), they just sit and hope to get us on the counter,” explained the former Singapore international.

“It is not easy to play against the so-called bottom teams.

“Credit to all the players, they worked really hard and sometimes in football you need to grind out results and today is one of those days,” added the Stags’ tactician who has steadily guided the team back into the title race since taking over from former coach Salim Moin in April.

Although Harimau succumbed to their 14th loss of the campaign, coach Razip Ismail felt that his side should have at least gotten a point from the match.

“We are very unfortunate to lose by a goal. A draw should have been a fair result. Especially in the second half, my players tried their best. They give everything to get the equalising goal,” lamented Razip.

“When you play against experienced side, they put all their men down to block their goal and it is very hard for us to penetrate their defence.”

The match also saw the return of Ramzi Haziq who was out for a considerable period of time due to an ankle injury.

“He just came back from an injury. It was a long layoff for him. His fitness is also not very good but I have no choice but to use him because of his speed upfront,” added Razip.

“He managed to (cause) trouble to the opponents. But the only thing we could not get the clear chance at goal.”

Tampines will next host Hougang United at Clementi Stadium on 19 June while Harimau will travel to Bedok Stadium to take on Geylang International on the same day.