Singapore Premier League • March 13, 2014
Warriors Raise the Bar against Harimau Muda
Written by: Khalis Rifhan
Warriors FC returned to winning ways in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League as they struck late goals in the match against the young and energetic Harimau Muda at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Kevin James McCann scored a stunner in the 80th minute while Miroslav Pejic added a double towards the end to seal all three points for the Warriors.
Razip Ismail’s side ended the match with nine men as referee Mohd Irwan showed a straight red to Harimau goalkeeper Ramdhan Hamid and captain Ashmawi Yakin in injury time.
The hosts’ attacking trio of Pejic, Nicholas Velez and Hafiz Rahim displayed telepathic understanding between them and their interchangeable passes were a beauty to watch, causing chaos in the final third on several occasions.
Despite not enjoying much of the ball, the visitors were tactically discipline, keeping their shape in check, both in defence and on the counter. Harimau managed to penetrate the Warriors’ tight defence a few times, but they were met with a pair of steady hands in the form of Singapore international Hassan Sunny.
It was a frustrating first half for Weaver as his side were denied by the crossbar midway through the half. But Warriors piled the pressure on their opponents in the second half, raising their game and surging forward for the opener.
In the 23rd minute, Irwan Shah’s inswinging corner kick fell to Pejic who headed onto the woodwork while Velez’s looping header two minutes later also tasted the bar.
Nine minutes before the interval, a well-worked attack down the right saw captain Daniel Bennett deliver a delicate cross into the box but Shi Jiayi could only nod it onto the crossbar. The loose ball was headed into the net by Velez but assistant referee Muhd Syahir had flagged the Argentinean for offside.
Harimau goalkeeper Ramdhan Hamid was called into action in the 43rd minute when Warriors were awarded a freekick at the edge of the penalty box. From the ensuing set-piece, Hafiz rammed the ball towards the top right corner but it was palmed away by the visitors’ custodian.
A long ball from Irwan into the box was next played across the 18-yard box but Velez unleashed a powerful volley which did not cause any threat to Ramdhan.
Warriors’ efforts finally paid off as they took the lead ten minutes before the end. Pejic’s freekick was poorly executed but the striker managed to get onto the end of the loose ball and laid it on for McCann to volley the ball into the top corner.
It was two goals up for Weaver’s charges five minutes later as Pejic got onto the end of a Hafsyar Farkhan through pass down the right flank and broke free from his marker before slotting the ball beyond Ramdhan.
The match ended on a sour note for the Malaysians as Ramdhan was sent off for a reckless challenge on Hafiz in the penalty box and Ashmawi met with the same fate as his goalkeeper for a contact with the referee.
Pejic stepped up for the spot kick and left stand-in goalkeeper Irfan Zakaria rooted to the ground for Warriors’ third goal of the night.