Singapore Premier League • June 6, 2014

Warriors Shake Off Harimau’s Scare to Keep Pace with DPMM


Written by: Khalis Rifhan

It was a roller-coaster match at Pasir Gudang Stadium on Thursday night as Warriors FC surrendered an early lead to Harimau Muda before mounting a comeback to win 4-2 and keep pace with Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League leaders Brunei DPMM.

Marin Vidosevic’s early lead for the Warriors was cancelled out by a goal from Naim Zakaria before Ramzi Sufian struck midway through the first half for Harimau.

Seeking to bring home maximum points and keep their title hopes alive, Warriors regrouped and mounted a resurgence through a brace from Nicholas Velez and a spot-kick by Miroslav Pejic.

The hosts ended the match with 10 men as their custodian Ramdhan Hamid was shown a second yellow card by referee Farhad Mohd in the 88th minute.

The visitors had made several changes to their starting line-up from the one that started in the RHB Singapore Cup as both Thomas Beattie and Jeremy Chiang were still nursing injuries while Zulfadli Zainal was suspended.

Taking Zulfadli’s spot at right-back was former Singapore international Shi Jiayi who moved from midfield to the back while Dharham Aziz partnered Kevin McCann in centre of midfield.

Although Warriors took an early lead, the changes at the back caused a few jittery moments as Harimau sprung a few surprises of their own.

The opener came in the fourth minute when Miroslav Pejic knocked down Jiayi’s freekick to the edge of the box and Vidosevic thumped a volley past Harimau’s custodian Ramdhan Hamid.

Undeterred by that goal, Harimau continued to conjure up decent attacks of their own and turned the table on their opponents.

Left with acres of space in the final third, Naim unleashed a low driven shot towards goal. The ball took a wicked deflection off Vidosevic and it trickled into the back of the net as Hassan Sunny was rooted to the ground in the 17th minute.

The visitors’ defence was caught napping 11 minutes later as Ramzi sneaked in between the defence to latch onto Shahrul Igwan’s pass. With Warriors’ Hassan Sunny racing off his line, Razmi lofted the ball over the Singapore international to give Razip Ismail’s side the upper hand.

But the lead lasted only for five minutes as Alex Weaver’s charges regained their confidence and launched a comeback before halftime.

With a burst of speed, Velez raced onto Hassan’s long punt and fired home Warriors second goal of the match in the 33rd minute.

The title chasers regained their lead six minutes later as Pejic coolly converted his penalty to the bottom corner after the referee spotted an infringement in the box.

Warriors then extended their lead to a two-goal margin as they snatched their fourth goal of the night in the 39th minute.

A defensive mistake by the usually composed Syawal Nordin allowed Velez a free run at goal and the striker rounded Harimau’s goalkeeper Ramdhan before sending it to the bottom corner for his 13rd goal of the league campaign.

The second half did not see much goalmouth action as compared to the first half as both side were cautious not to expose their defence and concede unnecessary goals.

Harimau came close with Ramzi’s snapshot after the hour mark while Pejic and Velez had a few tries on goal but was denied by Ramdhan who stood his ground in the second half.

With the result, Warriors remained in second spot on 27 points but close the gap between DPMM to a point as the league leaders are scheduled to host Home United on Friday night in Brunei.