Singapore Premier League • November 9, 2015

Sundram Believes Title Race Will Go Down To The Wire


Written by: Shawn Lim

Tampines Rovers coach V.Sundramoorthy was full of praise of his side’s determination after leading them to tough 3-2 victory over Home United at Yishun Stadium on Sunday night.

Mateo Roskam had given the Stags the lead after a mistake by Juma’at Jantan before the Protectors equalised three minutes before the interval through an own goal by Jufri Taha.

The hosts then went ahead for the first time in the game through Stanely Ng in the 63rd minute before a second from Roskam and a goal from Pedrag Pocuca helped the Stags clinched the important three points.

The victory meant that the Stags remained firmly in the race for the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League title and are now five points behind leaders Brunei DPMM with a game in hand.

Sundram was pleased with how his charges never gave up fighting to win even after they went behind to Home, and paid tribute to their character.

“We had three games in 10 days and they really ran their socks off,” said the former Singapore International footballer.

“Now, it’s about character..when we are down 2-1, they had the character to come back and fight to make the league more exciting.

“We have five days to go before we play Albirex (Niigata (S)) and we should have recovered by then. If we can do something there, we can bring the title race to the last day of the season.

Nothing less than three points will do for the Stags in their last two games of the season if they intend to beat DPMM to the title, but Sundram believes that the win against the Protectors will motivate his players to fight to the end.

“This game gives us a lot of confidence because our loss against Balestier (Khalsa) was a hard game to swallow..because we conceded many soft goals,” said Sundram.

“But today, I think we had the lady luck on our side and the boys tried their best..and hopefully we can do something on Friday.”

Sundram also singled out Fabian Kwok for praise after the makeshift right-back turned in a performance of the highest quality in the second half, keeping a tight leash on Sirina Camara and providing the assist for two of the Stags’ goals.

“Fabian is a boy any coach loves to have..he gives his best on the pitch and never talks back..and tries his best. That’s the most important thing,” said Sundram.

“I felt that Camara is strong and we needed somebody strong there..I thought Fabian is physically strong, he can compete.

“But it’s tough, any defender playing against Camara will have a hard time.”

Meanwhile, Home United coach Philippe Aw was adamant that his team did not deserve to lose after controlling possession for a large part of the game.

“I firmly believed that the better team lost today. We created so many chances and Ken (Ilso) had a couple, Azhar (Sairudin) had a clear one,” asserted Aw.

“We are a point of time where we make a mistake and we get punished while we create chances and we don’t finish.

“But we will continue to display a good brand of football. I really hope the fans enjoyed how we came out to play football today.”