Singapore Premier League • April 21, 2018
Tampines held to first stalemate of season by Warriors
Both sides played out a feisty 0-0 draw as the hosts continued their search for a first league win
Warriors FC defender Emmeric Ong and Tampines Rovers FC midfielder Ryutaro Megumi in a tussle.
SINGAPORE, 21 APRIL 2018 – Warriors FC and Tampines Rovers FC shared the spoils in the first goal-less draw of the 2018 Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) season at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Saturday evening.
With the result, Warriors rise to sixth with three points but remain win-less after four matches, while second-placed Tampines have seven from the same amount of games played.
Fresh from their 4-0 victory over Hougang United FC three days ago, Tampines came out with all guns blazing and were nearly rewarded with the opener after eight minutes.
Jordan Webb pounced on a weak headed clearance from Emmeric Ong on the edge of the six-yard box but saw his effort cleared off the line by Delwinder Singh, much to the relief of a stranded Mukundan Maran.
On a rain-sodden pitch, both teams took some time to get used to the conditions and goalmouth action was at a premium.
While there were some heated moments that nearly sparked a free for all, the rest of the first half proved to be drab otherwise.
Stags midfielder Yasir Hanapi flashing one wide on 25 minutes, which was the closest either team would come to breaking the deadlock.
After the restart, the home side fashioned their first real chance of the game through Tajeli Salamat, whose shot was deflected over for a corner in the 53rd minute.
Warriors Head Coach Mirko Grabovac reacted by bringing on winger Suria Prakash for Daniel Shafiq shortly after in a move to inject more attacking impetus.
But it was Tampines who almost went in front in the 68th minute when Webb’s cross from the left byline found an unmarked Shameer Aziq, who wastefully thumped over from close range.
Fadhil Noh then forced Tampines goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari into a good save from a 25-yard free-kick in the 77th minute, before Yasir had his own deadball well-collected by Mukundan with five minutes left on the clock.
Japanese winger Ryutaro Megumi could have snatched a late winner for Tampines, but poked over in stoppage time as his side were held to a draw for the first time this year.
Tampines will now turn their attention to their final AFC Group H match against Persija Jakarta at home on Tuesday, while Warriors will next face Balestier Khalsa at Toa Payoh Stadium in the SPL on Sunday, April 29.
WHAT THEY SAID
Warriors Head Coach Grabovac: “I was happy with the performance of the boys today. It was a physical game but they worked very hard against a team in Tampines, who I feel are the best team in the league after Albirex.
“I spoke to the players after the game against Hougang (telling them) that everyone can make mistakes but not a good team like us, so I’m happy we managed to keep the clean sheet. But we still need to score and that’s our main problem so far, which I hope will get better when Sahil (Suhaimi) reaches full fitness and Jonathan (Behe) returns from injury.”
Tampines Head Coach Juergen Raab: “I’m disappointed we didn’t win the game today, but the players showed good nerves today and it wasn’t easy so I respect that. There were not many chances for us although we had clear opportunities to score and win, which was the target.
“I tried to change approach by putting Jordan (Webb) in the middle and added a winger on the left so we have more offensive power but it just didn’t work out. But what you have seen (from Warriors) today is not nice for football. They were trying to destroy our players at every available opportunity but this is something we can learn for future matches.”
Warriors: Mukundan Maran (GK), Emmeric Ong, Delwinder Singh, Kento Fukuda (C), Daniel Shafiq (S Suria Prakash 54’), Ismadi Mukhtar, Ammirul Emmran, Poh Yi Feng, Ho Wai Loon (Shamil Sharif 90’), Tajeli Salamat, Sahil Suhaimi (Fadhil Noh 70’).
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Fazli Shafie, Hafiz Sulaiman, Firdaus Kasman.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Irfan Najeeb, Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Daniel Bennett, Shameer Aziq, Amirul Adli (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 73’), Yasir Hanapi, Irwan Shah, Ryutaro Megumi, Khairul Amri (Fazrul Nawaz 62’), Jordan Webb.
Unused subs: Haikal Hasnol (GK), Madhu Mohana, Afiq Yunos, Shah Shahiran, Faizal Raffi.
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