Stags Dispatch Young Lions At Home
Written by: Nevin Gabriel Khoo
Tampines Rovers closed the gap at the top of the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League to six points after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Garena Young Lions at Our Tampines Hub Stadium on Saturday night.
Shannon Stephen scored early on before a strike each from Hafiz Sujad and Daniel Bennett in the space of six second-half minutes sealed victory for the Stags.
Having spoken about the importance of ending the season on a high before the match, Shannon opened the scoring after eight minutes with a superb bullet header off Shahdan Sulaiman’s corner for his third goal against Young Lions this season.
Although they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, the Stags had to wait until the 35th minute for their next best chance when a penalty was awarded after Hafiz Sujad’s shot had come off the arm of Illyas Lee.
Up stepped Shahdan but the midfielder was denied by Young Lions custodian Hairul Syirhan who went the right way and pushed it over to safety.
Jurgen Raab’s side continued from where they left off after the restart but were nearly punished shortly into the second-half instead.
Rusyaidi Salime’s freekick looked destined for the top corner but goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud managed to get a finger to tip it away in the nick of time.
The home side would however find a breakthrough in the 77th minute when Hafiz Sujad unleashed a scorcher from outside the box which found its way into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
It was then game, set and match eight minutes from time as Daniel Bennett got on the end of yet another Shahdan corner to thump a header into the back of the net.
The victory saw Tampines keep up the pressure on leaders Albirex Niigata (S) going into the final two games of the season as they travel to Bandar Seri Begawan next to take on Brunei DPMM on Friday night.
For the Young Lions, they remain in ninth with six points from 22 matches and will have little time to dwell on the defeat as they face Home United at Bishan Stadium on Tuesday night.
Tampines Rovers Head Coach Jurgen Raab: “The Garena Young Lions are ninth in the table and everyone had expected us to win by maybe four or five goals. This is sometimes difficult because it may make the players complacent but I thought the team did well today. We dominated for 90 minutes and created many chances.
“But the Young Lions goalkeeper (Hairul Syirhan) did a good job today, preventing many goalscoring chances. I told the team at the break to keep going that we would create chances and get the second goal and they did that so I was satisfied because we are now closer to our target of second place.”
Garena Young Lions Head Coach Vincent Subramaniam: “I wanted to play a little bit differently today. We had two games at hard grounds, so it was difficult for the players to be at their 100% today. We tried to keep compact in defence and defended very deep. Tampines have so many good players that is is almost like playing the national team so I was pleased with performance of my boys today.
“Tampines doesn’t play a pressing game. They give you some space to build up. Against other teams like Geylang (International) and Hougang (United), they press a lot forward and that makes us very uncomfortable. In the next game against Home United, we will have a very different way of approaching them.”
Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Madhu Mohana, Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Daniel Bennett, Shannon Stephen, Son Yong Chan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Fazli Ayob (Irwan Shah 74’), Ryutaro Megumi, Khairul Amri (Ivan Dzoni 67’), Hafiz Sujad (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 84’)
Garena Young Lions: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Amirul Adli, Faizal Roslan, Syahrul Sazali (Hafiz Sulaiman 70’), Illyas Lee (C), Shahrin Saberin, Yeo Hai Ngee, Hami Syahin (Ammirul Emmran 90’), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Haiqal Pashia (Shameer Aziq 77’)