Singapore Premier League • May 24, 2014

Stags Award Rafi With First Win


Written by: Muhammad Yazid

After three previous draws, Tampines Rovers coach Rafi Ali was handed his first win since taking over over from Salim Moin as his side snatched a 2-1 win over Courts Young Lions in a televised match at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.

The Stags opened the accounts through Aleksandar Duric before Sahil Suhaimi equalised at the start of the second half, only for Miljan Mrdakovic to ensure his team goes back home with maximum points with the winner.

It was a game which was pretty much stuck in midfield, with the likes of Shahdan Sulaiman and Luis Closa from Tampines giving a hard time to their counterparts Jordan Webb and Amirul Adli.

Tampines were put into the driving seat in the 16th minute when Imran Sahib laid a through ball to Mrdakovic in the penalty area for him to squeeze a finish which got saved by Syazwan Buhari. However the rebound fell kindly for Duric to head into an open net.

Tampines almost made it two in the 34th minute when Mrdakovic’s lob over Syazwan after latching on to Abdil Qaiyyim’s long pass got cleared off the line by M.Anumanthan.

That summed-up the first-half as the hosts marched into the tunnel with a goal down.

The Cubs responded in the best way after the interval as they scored just 20 seconds into the second half through Sahil.

The striker showed great control to latch onto a cross by Stanely Ng and took a few touches in mid-air before unleashing a half-volley from just inside the penalty box into the bottom corner of the net.

Sahil was just a whisker away from giving his side the lead if not for his free-kick which sailed just over the crossbar fifteen minutes later.

In the 61st minute, the Stags regained their lead when they were awarded with a free-kick from 25 yards out.

Just as when the wall was being set-up, Shahdan intelligently released Mrdakovic with a through-pass and the forward clinically finished the ball into Syazwan’s far post.

Six minutes later, Sherif El-Masri saw his cross-cum-shot being tipped over the bar by Ridhuan Barudin.

Aide Iskandar’s side huffed and puffed for the equaliser but were denied by the adamant Tampines defence.

With the win, Tampines are on third place and six points behind Brunei DPMM FC respectively.