News • July 14, 2016
The New Paper League Cup 2016: Stags Run Riot Over Cheetahs
Written by: Shawn Lim
Fans who were present at Jurong West Stadium on Wednesday night were treated to a goal-fest after a second-string Tampines Rovers side romped to a 6-4 victory over 10-man Hougang United in The New Paper League Cup Group A match.
The Stags raced to a 4-0 lead before the break, but an improved second-half performance from the Cheetahs saw them finding the net four times as well, but sandwiched between conceding two more goals and going a man down.
Even though it was a huge victory for Tampines, they lost out on top spot in Group A on goal difference after the other match in the group saw Brunei DPMM handing Warriors FC a 4-0 thrashing.
The visitors had a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock in the 20th minute when Iqbal Hussain picked out Fumiya Kogure on the left flank with a beautiful cross, but Nurhilmi Jasni was unable to get a touch at the far post after the Japanese sent in a low cross into the box.
The hosts came close themselves a minute later when Fabian Kwok sent Sufian Anuar scurrying down the right wing, before the former arrived late into the box to meet the latter’s cross, but could only skewer his shot over.
A moment of madness from Ridhuan Barudin in the 27th minute saw the Hougang custodian making an absolute mess of his goal-kick, sending it straight to Billy Mehmet, who played in Shahdan Sulaiman to open the scoring for the Stags with a placed shot.
Tampines doubled their lead five minutes later when Hougang failed to properly clear Shahdan’s free-kick and Nur Na”iim Ishak nodded the ball into his own goal at the far post with Kwok lurking behind.
The Cheetahs’ night got even worse after that when they conceded twice in a space of 10 minutes as Jordan Webb dazzled his way into the box before side-footing the ball home, before Sufian converted a spot-kick after he was brought down inside the 18-yard box.
Hougang emerged after the break determined to reduce the deficit and almost succeeded in the 51st minute when Kogure did well to make space for himself in the box, but could only shoot straight at Sim.
The visitors however, managed to pull two goals back when Kogure poked home Afiq Noor’s cross from close-range before Sim misjudged Jozef Kaplan’s looping header and allowed the ball to drop into the net minutes later.
Hougang’s hopes of a comeback was dealt with a crucial blow when Huzaifah Aziz was sent off for a second yellow for bringing down Aide Shazwandi and Mehmet slammed home Tampines’ second penalty of the night to make it 5-2 in the 75th minute.
Goal number six arrived for Tampines on 84 minutes after Webb held up play before releasing Saifullah Akbar, who curled the ball past the despairing dive of Ridhuan to score on his debut.
In spite of the four-goal gap, the Cheetahs continued to attack and found the net twice through Kaplan and Plazibat in the dying minutes of the game, but it was too little, too late.
Tampines Rovers coach Akbar Nawas: “Playing with the players that we had, I don’t think I can ask for more. We definitely have more to do in footballing terms, because we struggled with transitions.
“But we are taking it one game at a time because we have so many players missing, so we have to be realistic.”
Hougang United coach K.Balagumaran: “We played five reserve players today and they let us down.
“I am disappointed with Na’iim because he has a lot of potential, but he didn’t perform. But I thought Iqbal Hussain and Afiq Noor did quite well today.”
Tampines Rovers: Joey Sim (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar, Jufri Taha, Noh Rahman (C), Irwan Shah, Fabian Kwok, Saifullah Akbar, Shahdan Sulaiman (Shafie Muliantoh 46′), Jordan Webb, Billy Mehmet, Sufian Anuar (Aide Shazwandi 68′)
Hougang United: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Yusiskandar Yusop, Huzaifah Aziz, Khairulnizam Jumahat (Jozef Kaplan 54′), Wahyudi Wahid, Afiq Noor, Fairoz Hasan (C), Nur Ridho (Nurhilmi Jasni 14′), Nur Na’iim Ishak (Stipe Plazibat 46′), Fumiya Kogure, Iqbal Hussain