News • March 8, 2016

Unbeaten Stags Ready To Slay Red Giants


Written by: Aysha Ridzuan

Tampines Rovers have made the trip up north for their second AFC Cup match against Selangor FA at Selayang Stadium on Tuesday night, looking to extend their lead at the top of Group E.

The Stags will be coming into the game with a well rested team after playing only one game last week and are in high spirits after keeping an unbeaten record so far in the 2016 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League, as well as in the AFC Cup, where they thrashed Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi 4-0 in their opening match.

In contrast, the Red Giants played two games last week, one in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) and another in the Malaysia FA Cup, where they were eliminated from the competition after losing 2-1 to PDRM FA.

While Selangor are still unbeaten in the MSL after four games, they are still searching for their first three points in the AFC Cup after a 2-2 draw against Ceres-La Salle in their opener last month

The Malaysian side’s defence is also a major concern, having conceded eight goals in seven matches in all competitions so far this season. The situation doesn’t look it will be rectify any time soon, with their towering Australian centre-back Robert Cornthwaite still a major doubt for the Tampines game.

The Stags on the other hand, have a full squad to choose from and will be bolstered by the likes of Billy Mehmet and Jermaine Pennant, who has scored two goals and made five assists for Tampines in all competitions so far.

Tampines coach V.Sundramoorthy believes that his players have what it takes to get a result against Selangor. He said: “Some of my players have the experience of playing here (in Malaysia) and we know that away games are tough … it has always been.

“Selangor have plenty of talent in their team and I think we will need to be wary of their striker Patrick Wleh. Patrick is physically strong and if given space, he can hurt us.

“Selangor are the favourites for this match but we did not come here to return empty-handed.”

Meanwhile, Selangor coach Zainal Abidin Hassan has urged his side to take advantage of playing at home, but admits that it will not be an easy game against the Stags.

“We had a good preparation and all the players have realised that any silly mistake and you will get punished,” said the former Malaysian International footballer.

“But I’m confident they would put up a good show against Tampines because tiredness cannot be an issue.

“The players have to be ready mentally and physically. We need three points tomorrow to complement the valuable (AFC Cup) point we got away to Ceres two weeks ago,” he said at a press conference in Selangor on Monday.

Photo courtesy of Tampines Rovers