Singapore Premier League • September 28, 2015

Stags Keep Faint Title Hopes Alive


Written By: Kenneth Ho

Tampines Rovers earned a 3-1 victory over Courts Young Lions on Sunday evening to ensure they stayed in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League title race.

The win took Tampines to within eight points of league leaders Brunei DPMM with a game in hand.

The Stags had to overcome a one-goal deficit in the first half to attain maximum points but they could have easily scored more goals were if not for some wasteful finishing.

Mateo Roskam cancelled out Shameer Aziq’s opener with a strike in the 27th minute before Roberto Alviz and Ridhuan Muhamad etched their names onto the scoresheet to secure the win.

The Young Lions began the match brightly as they dominated possession and passed the ball around with ease.

This saw them crafting out the first chance of the game in the eighth minute, but Adam Swandi’s effort lacked power and Pacheco was able to collect the ball.

Despite not seeing much of the ball, the Stags too enjoyed a chance of their own in the 16th minute when Shaiful Esah found Rodrigo Tosi at close range but the striker contrived to smash over from close range.

That allowed the Young Lions to seize the lead, with Shameer tapping home the opener at the far post after meeting Adam’s cross.

However, their lead only lasted seven minutes, with Roskam slamming home the equaliser after Zulfadli Zainal had worked the ball to him.

The Young Lions could have regained the lead in the 34th minute, but M.Anumanthan was stopped in his tracks by Zulfadli after initiately muscling his way towards goal.

Shameer came close next after breaking free of the Tampines backline but he sent his shot wide instead.

The Stags took advantage of such wastefulness as they went ahead in the 37th minute, with Alviz calmly slotting past Syazwan Buhari after space opened up for him.

This goal swung the momentum towards Tampines’ favour and it carried through to the next half.

Ridhuan should have scored in the 51st minute after Jufri Taha sprinted towards goal and unselfishly squared the ball for him but the winger failed to connect with the ball.

However, he made amends for that just two minutes later. Latching onto Alviz’s cross, Ridhuan lashed a fierce drive towards goal and Syazwan could only parry it into his goal despite getting in a touch.

Tampines should have made it 4-1 in the 64th minute, but Tosi was guilty of yet another miss from close range as he shot straight at Syazwan.

Adam then could have pulled a goal back for his side in the 73rd minute but his shot was off target after Afiq Noor found him with a delightful no-look pass.

Rodrigo Pacheco came to his side’s rescue moments later, as he parried away Nur Na’iim Ishak’s piledriver.

In order to completely kill off the Young Lions, Tampines continued to attack but Tosi was guilty of missing more gilt-edged chances.

In the 79th minute, he once again shot straight at Syazwan after having only the goalkeeper to beat before heading wide Shaiful’s free-kick four minutes later.

Those misses eventually proved inconsequential as the Young Lions failed to muster a comeback at home.

Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari (GK) (C)Faris Azienuddin (Suria Prakash 57′), Fadli Kamis, Amirul Adli, M.Anumanthan, Safirul Sulaiman, Shahfiq Ghani, Adam Swandi, Afiq Noor, Farhan Rahmat (Nur Na’iim Ishak 57′), Shameer Aziq

Tampines Rovers: Rodrigo Pacheco (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar (C), Jufri Taha, Zulfadli Zainal, Ridhuan Muhamad (Firdaus Idros 74′), Shaiful Esah (Jamil Ali 90′), Mateo Roskam, Rodrigo Tosi (Noh Alam Shah 88′), Ismail Yunos, Roberto Alviz, Naeem Rahimi