News • June 14, 2016
Stags Edge Seven-Goal Thriller As Wasps See Title Hopes Dissipate
Written by: Ryan Low
Title hopefuls Tampines Rovers cut the gap between themselves and Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League leaders Albirex Niigata (S) to seven points, after edging Brunei DPMM 4-3 at the Jurong West Stadium on Saturday night.
Former Arsenal and Liverpool player Jermaine Pennant scored the match-winning goal for the Stags 11 minutes from time, after DPMM had came from behind thrice to draw level in the game.
The floodgates opened in the 37th minute when Jordan Webb did well down the right byline to set up Fazrul Nawaz for an easy finish from close range to put Tampines into the lead.
However, it took just six minutes for DPMM to respond, with Hendra Azam bending a superb left-footed shot from just outside the six-yard box which left Tampines goalkeeper Joey Sim rooted to the spot.
Tampines ended the first half 2-1 up though, when Webb rose the highest to head home Pennant’s free kick from the right.
DPMM showed a spirited response after the break and duly grabbed the equaliser again on 57 minutes. A neat set-piece played into the area by Azwan Ali laid it on a platter for Brazilian hot shot Rafael Ramazotti to head in off the right-hand post.
That joy proved to be short-lived as the Stags went ahead once again six minutes later when substitute Hafiz Sujad’s superb low cross from the left found Billy Mehmet, who simply could not miss from two yards out.
The Stags were unable to keep their concentration at the back thereafter as they allowed DPMM to restore parity for the third time on the night on 70 minutes.
Some slack defending from Afiq Yunos allowed Paulo Sergio to steal the ball off him, before Ramazotti was left in acres of space to fire past a stranded Joey.
DPMM were unable to hold out for the point though, as Tampines found a fourth goal in the nine minutes later.
After playing a neat one-two with Hafiz, Pennant found himself free inside the DPMM area and needed no invitation to slot the ball beyond the onrushing Wardun to restore his side’s lead.
That was enough to turn a point into three as Akbar Nawas got off to a winning start in his reign as Tampines coach.
Tampines Rovers coach Akbar Nawas: “It was nice to attack and score four goals, but as you can see, this was a really hard-fought win for us. I thought this game could have gone either way.
“Credit has to go to DPMM for coming out to fight for every ball and that put us on the back foot a few times. It was a positive result for us in the end, but we are still very much a work in progress.
“This win definitely took some load of pressure off me because there was so much said in the build-up about being my first game in charge. Hopefully we can better certain aspects of our game, but it’s important to recover now because we have four games in 13 days.”
Brunei DPMM coach Steve Kean: “I’m disappointed because we did not deserve to lose based on the chances which we created. After we lost 5-0 to Home United, I told the lads that they got to find the energy and motivation to get to the top again after going a goal down.
“Today we saw dramatic improvement in our attacking play and what we’ve been working on for the past few weeks; getting the second balls and gaining possession back. It’s just that we are not defending well as a team and that’s our next challenge.”
“To win the league is very difficult for us now, but we are hoping to start a clean slate and do well in the cup competitions.”
Tampines Rovers: Joey Sim (GK), Jufri Taha, Mustafic Fahrudin (C), Afiq Yunos, Jordan Webb (Ismadi Mukhtar 85’), Yasir Hanapi, Fabian Kwok (Irwan Shah 82’), Christopher van Huizen (Hafiz Sujad 40’), Jermaine Pennant, Fazrul Nawaz, Billy Mehmet
Brunei DPMM: Wardun Yussof (GK), Aminuddin Zakwan, Brian McLean, Yura Indera Putera, Najib Tarif, Rosmin Kamis (C), Azwan Salleh (Shahrazen Said 72’), Hendra Azam (Maududi Hilmi 60’), Azwan Ali (Helmi Zambin 79’), Paulo Sergio, Rafael Ramazotti