Warriors Snap Stags’ Winning Streak
Written by: Ryan Low
Tampines Rovers’ three-match winning run came to an end on Wednesday night as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Warriors FC at Our Tampines Hub.
Hafiz Sujad opened the scoring early for the Stags, but Shahril Ishak’s second-half penalty ensured both sides gained a share of the spoils.
Tampines were largely on top in the opening stages and duly broke the deadlock after just 15 minutes.
Ryutaro Megumi’s defence-splitting pass found Fazrul Nawaz, who in turn squared across goal for Hafiz to fire home first-time despite Warriors keeper Hyrunizam Juma’at’s best attentions.
Warriors could have hit back a minute later when Fazli Jaffar found Ridhuan Muhammad with his left-wing cross, but the latter’s goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by Shannon Stephen.
Tampines could have ended the first half two goals up when Fazrul Nawaz went through on goal via Irwan Shah’s through ball, but Hyrulnizam rushed out of goal well to snuff out the danger.
Warriors returned for the second half with much more vigour, with Hafiz Nor forcing Izwan to tip over his 20-yard piledriver on 51 minutes.
Razif Onn’s side duly levelled matters on seven minutes later.
After being fell by Jufri Taha in the box, captain Shahril dusted himself off to send Izwan the wrong way from the spot.
Warriors brought on Andrei-Cosmin Ciolacu and Jordan Webb in search of their second goal, but it was their Tampines counterparts who almost won it in the end.
Ivan Dzoni’s snapshot was smothered by Hyrulnizam on 82 minutes, before Fazli Ayob was denied by the Warriors custodian at point-blank range a minute later.
Megumi then looked odds-on to convert after going through on goal via Fazli’s through ball, but his shot lacked the power to beat Hyrulnizam.
The final whistle soon sounded to signal a draw as Tampines went seven points clear of third-place Home, albeit having played three games more.
Meanwhile Warriors leapfrogged Geylang International to go fourth based on goal difference.
Tampines Rovers Head Coach Jurgen Raab: “Playing four games in 12 days, my team has put up a very strong performance tonight and I’m very proud of the team. Players like Fazrul, Hafiz and Shannon have done well over the past few matches.
“We’re on a good way now, it’s just the quality of finishing which we need to improve. We have five games remaining, with two home matches which we have to win, then we will start planning for next season.”
Warriors FC Head Coach Razif Onn: “We needed the three points badly but we couldn’t win in the first half, they kept coming at us on the sides and that’s a bit worrying. The goal came from the right side and the ball was not intercepted.
“I made some changes in the second half and we did better thereafter. I’m happy with my keeper (Hyrunizam), he made two to three point-blank saves.
“Now it’s hard to get third, we’re just focusing on our remaining five games and try to get as many points as we can.”
Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Madhu Mohana, Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Daniel Bennett, Shannon Stephen (Ismadi Mukhtar 71’), Son Yong Chan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Irwan Shah, Ryutaro Megumi, Fazrul Nawaz (Ivan Dzoni 56’), Hafiz Sujad (Fazli Ayob 80’)
Warriors FC: Hyrulnizam Juma'at (GK), Emmeric Ong, Baihakki Khaizan, Hafiz Osman (Syaqir Sulaiman 88’), Ang Zhi Wei (Andrei-Cosmin Ciolacu 58’), Ho Wai Loon, Kento Fukuda, Ridhuan Muhammad, Hafiz Nor, Fazli Jaffar (Jordan Webb 70’), Shahril Ishak (C)