News • September 11, 2016

Tampines’ Title Hopes Take A Hit After Narrow Defeat To Protectors


Written by: Sebastian Lim

Shamil Sharif’s second-half strike was enough for Home United to edge Tampines Rovers 1-0 at the Bishan Stadium on Saturday evening, derailing their opponents’ title hopes in the process.

This result means Akbar Nawas’ men still trail leaders Albirex Niigata (S) by four points having played a game more and will now need the other teams to do them a favour if they are to keep alive their chances of a sixth league title.

Clear-cut opportunities were few and far between in the opening 45 minutes, although the first notable chance of the game fell to Home just eight minutes in.

However, Azhar Sairudin’s effort was too weak to trouble Izwan Mahbud after the Tampines custodian had inadvertently sent a clearance into his path.

Shamil then fired a left-footed shot which flew narrowly over in the 13th minute before Fahrudin Mustafic sent a header wide at the other end minutes later.

In the 27th minute, Izwan had to be alert to come off his line in to deny Ken Ilso who had been slipped through on goal by Shamil.

In what was arguably the best chance of the half two minutes before the break, Tampines’ Izzdin Shafiq tested Eko Pradana with a shot from range but the debutant was equal to it as he stretched to parry it for a corner.

The second-half was a stark contrast to the first, with the visitors coming close to the opener on 49 minutes but Pennant’s freekick from the edge of the area skimmed past Eko’s right-hand post.

They came even closer seven minutes later when Irwan Shah sent a cross across the face of goal for the lurking Yasir Hanapi but the latter contrived to miss from close range.

Both sides then took turns to be denied by the woodwork, with Khairul Nizam sending a header onto the post on 58 minutes before Jordan Webb saw his fierce shot crash off the underside of the bar five minutes later.

The deadlock would however be broken sixteen minutes from time.

After Song Uiyoung saw his effort denied by a brave block from Jufri Taha, the loose ball then fell to Shamil who needed no invitation to finish past Izwan for the winner.

The Protectors could have put the result beyond all doubt with six minutes remaining but substitute Faris Ramli somehow hit the bar from point blank with only the keeper to beat.

They were nearly made to pay for that miss in the 88th minute but were let off the hook when Pennant’s freekick came off the post, much to the relief of a rooted Eko as Home hung on for a result which propelled them to fourth.

Home United coach Aidil Sharin: “It was a tough game (for us) because Tampines are a good team with good players and to win it was a bonus. We want to be as close as possible to third and catch up with (Brunei) DPMM, so this is a good win for the boys.

“To be honest, we were very lucky today because they (Tampines) created chances and even had a freekick which came off the post (towards the end)”

Tampines Rovers coach Akbar Nawas: “I thought we deserved at least a point with the chances we had, especially in the second-half. But this is football and sometimes things don’t go your way and nothing I do or say now will change the result.

“Decisions didn’t go our way today and I won’t blame the referee, it was just our luck.

“We have four games left, Albirex have one game in hand (against Geylang International) so we can only hope they lose that one and hope the other teams do us a favour and beat them (in the remaining fixtures).”

Home United: Eko Pradana (GK), Shahrin Saberin (Redzwan Atan 53’), Haziq Azman, Sirina Camara, Juma’at Jantan (C), Shamil Sharif, Song Uiyoung, Zulfahmi Arifin (Syahiran Miswan 79’), Azhar Sairudin, Ken Ilso, Khairul Nizam (Faris Ramli 65’)

Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK, C), Ismadi Mukhtar, Jufri Taha, Shakir Hamzah, Irwan Shah, Yasir Hanapi (Afiq Yunos 70’), Izzdin Shafiq, Jermaine Pennant, Hafiz Abu Sujad, Jordan Webb, Fahrudin Mustafic (Sufian Anuar 62’)