Singapore Premier League • October 17, 2015

Warriors’ Title Hopes Hang In The Balance


Written by: Nigel Chin

Defending champions Warriors FC suffered another huge blow in their title aspirations after falling to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Courts Young Lions on Friday evening.

The Young Lions struck early in either half to hand Warriors their eighth defeat of the season, and earn their first win at Jalan Besar Stadium.

The defeat left Warriors six points behind league leaders Brunei DPMM, who will play Home United on Saturday.

An early warning sign was given by the hosts when Irfan Fandi sent Sherif El-Masri through on goal just after four minutes, only for the Canadian to drag his shot wide.

Down the other end seconds later, Hafiz Rahim fired narrowly wide after good build up play from Warriors, before Fazrul Nawaz saw a volley caught superbly by Young Lions custodian Syazwan Buhari.

In the eighth minute, the hosts took the lead. After conceding the free-kick, Warriors centre-back allowed Webb to ghost past him and slot home Shahfiq Ghani’s delivery for the opener.

The visitors almost answered immediately, but Syazwan produced a superb save to tip over Hafiz Rahim’s free-kick that was headed for the top corner.

Warriors eventually got their equaliser in the 22nd minute though, with Vidosevic atoning for his earlier mistake by nodding in Hafiz’s corner at the far post.

That sparked a spell of dominance from the reigning S.League champions, who were twice denied by Syazwan from taking the lead.

After Karlo Ivancic found Hafsyar Farkhan at the back post with a cross, Syazwan quickly came off his line to prevent the winger form shooting in the 40th minute, before clawing away Shi Jiayi’s header from the resulting corner.

Another Syazwan save three minutes after the restart prevented a Fazrul looping header from going in, before the Young Lions took the lead once again through Taufik Suparno.

The right winger was left with a simple tap-in after Webb did brilliantly to skin past Ivancic before squaring the ball for him, and Taufik made no mistake with his finish.

It could have been three just minutes later, after Shahfiq Ghani smashed a corner delivery straight into the post before the ball bounced away.

Shahfiq once again had another opportunity four minutes later, but headed horribly over from El-Masri’s pinpoint cross.

Needing a win to keep their title hopes alive, Warriors pushed men forward, but to no avail as they struggled to break down the resilient Young Lions defence.

Instead, their younger opponents were causing them ton of problems on the counter, with Warriors goalkeeper Daniel Ong required to pull off a couple of saves to keep his side in the game.

In injury time, there were opportunities for Warriors to draw level, but Syaqir Suaiman’s header from Shi’s cross was tipped over, while another tame shot was saved by the brilliant Syazwan.

Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari (GK)(C), Fadli Kamis (Farhan Rahmat 90′), Amirul Adli, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Safirul Sulaiman, M. Anumanthan, Shahfiq Ghani (Nur Na’iim Ishak 77′), Taufik Suparno, Jordan Webb, Sherif El-Masri, Irfan Fandi (Ammirul Emmran 45′)

Warriors FC: Daniel Ong (GK), Marcus Wheeler, Daniel Bennett (C), Marin Vidosevic, Irwan Shah; Shi Jiayi, Thomas Beattie (Emmeric Ong 66’), Hafsyar Farkhan (Hazim Faiz 73’), Hafiz Rahim (Syaqir Sulaiman 78’), Karlo Ivancic; Fazrul Nawaz