Singapore Cup • May 30, 2014
Stags Survive Penalty Shoot-Out Against Harimau Muda
Written by: Khalis Rifhan
Tampines were made to labour against Harimau Muda in the RHB Singapore Cup preliminary round as they went through a nail-biting end to the game after extra-time and emerged 6-5 winners in the penalty shoot-out.
The match had ended scoreless by the end of regulation time, before Noh Alam Shah and Ramzi Sufian both scored for their respective sides in extra-time to end the game 1-1 at Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday evening.
Jufri Taha converted the all important spot-kick to send Tampines through to the quarter-finals as Harimau were made to rue Akhir Bahari’s missed penalty which handed the Stags the initiative.
The Stags had thoroughly dominated the match but they found it hard to find the back of the net as the Malaysians were let off the hook several times in the match.
With several of their defenders still out injured, Stags’ captain Fahrudin Mustafic was slotted in defence alongside Abdil, while Shahdan Sulaiman paired with Luis Closa in the heart of the midfield.
In the ninth minute, Imran Sahib went on a marauding run down the right flank and sent the ball to the six-yard box but Aleksandar Duric was unable to make a clean connection.
Rafi Ali’s charges again came close to opening the scoring midway through the first half but Abdil Qaiyyim’s header was cleared off the line by Azrul Nizam in the 23rd minute.
In the 36th minute, Mrdakovic headed straight into Harimau’s custodian Ramdhan Hamid grasp. Five minutes later, Ramdhan made a mess of a cross in the box but with the goal-mouth gapping, Ismadi Mukhtar shot straight into the upright.
Harimau were in a precarious situation as they failed to mute the adventurous Imran on the flanks and halt the long diagonal balls from the Stags but they went into the dressing room unscathed as Tampines continued to waste gilt-edged opportunities in the first half.
In search of a goal, Rafi brought on former national team striker Alam Shah for the 44-year-old Duric at the start of the second half.
Although Alam Shah added an extra burst of energy upfront, he squandered a glorious opportunity towards the end of regulation time as his weak effort was safely gathered by Ramdhan.
With the score leveled at the end of 90 minutes, the match stretched into extra-time.
However, Tampines continued to spurn their chances and should have taken the lead as Mrdakovic’s thunderous shot was fisted away by Ramdhan in the first minute of extra-time.
There was drama in the final stages of extra-time as both teams snatched a goal each to extend the match into the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
Mustafic nodded the ball into the dangerous area and Alam Shah smashed home what was perceived as the winner in the 27th minute of extra-time.
Undeterred by that goal, Harimau managed to squeeze the equaliser in the last minute of extra-time as Ramzi Sufian rose highest to meet Nor Azam’s free kick.and headed the ball into the bottom corner.
Things did not start well in the shoot-out that followed as the Stags saw their captain’s spot-kick being saved, but Tampines goalkeeper Ridhuan Barudin did well to save Nor Azam Azih’s attempt, leaving things leveled.
Both sides continued to convert their penalties thereafter to send the shoot-out into sudden death. Akhir then saw his shot come off the bar, before Jufri coolly converted his spot-kick to send the Stags through.