Webb Helps Warriors Continue Fine Start
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Jordan Webb struck against his former club as Warriors FC edged Tampines Rovers 1-0 at the Jurong West Stadium on Saturday night.
The result saw Warriors maintain their unbeaten start to the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League season to three games and go level on points with second-placed Home United, who drew 2-2 with Albirex Niigata (S) in another match played on the same day.
However, Warriors could have won the game by a larger margin if not for Tampines goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud whose heroics kept the visitors at bay.
Starting the game brightly, Warriors nearly went ahead after just two minutes when Joel Tshibamba got onto the end of a low cross from the left but stabbed wide from six yards out.
Webb was next to come close for Razif Onn’s side in the 12th minute but saw his downward header off a corner kept out by the legs of Izwan.
The Singapore international goalkeeper then pulled off arguably the save of the match on 27 minutes when he dived at full stretch to brilliantly tip Ho Wai Loon’s rasping shot over the bar.
However, it did not take long for the Warriors to break the deadlock as they did on 28 minutes.
Shahril Ishak released Webb down the left and the Canadian then cut inside before firing home a low shot which went in via a slight deflection off Fahrudin Mustafic.
The nine-time league champions could have doubled their lead two minutes after the opener but Tshimbamba contrived to fire straight at Izwan instead.
The Stags would finish the first-half strongly with Shahdan Sulaiman and substitute Ismadi Mukhtar having chances to level matters but they were not threatening enough to trouble Warriors goalkeeper Basil Chan.
Whatever Tampines head coach Juergen Raab told his players in the dressing room at half-time seemed to have worked as they came out of the break looking the hungrier of the two sides.
Son Yong Chan was unlucky not to have equalised in the 62nd minute when his shot came off the wrong side of the post before his effort was deflected behind for a corner two minutes later.
Ivan Dzoni - who started as a lone striker in the absence of the injured Khairul Amri - then sent a header which flew narrowly wide in the 68th minute.
Warriors had glorious opportunities to seal the game in the closing stages of the game but Izwan was on hand to keep the scoreline a respectable one.
The 26-year-old made two saves in quick succession in the 88th and 89th minute, turning Ho’s low shot around the post before parrying Ridhuan Muhammad’s fierce shot from inside the area.
It was ultimately not to be for Tampines as Warriors hung on for all three points to continue their impressive start to the season.
Tampines Rovers Head Coach Juergen Raab: “I must say it was not easy to play this match especially when we had seven players away with the national.
“The first-half was not ideal but I felt the response in second-half was alright. It’s not nice to lose matches and I thought our final pass was not good enough. We made too many mistakes in the build-up play which resulted in some problems at the back.”
Warriors FC Head Coach Razif Onn: “It was a fantastic performance from the boys today and a good start (to the season) for us as well. I appreciate the players’ effort, we played well from the start today.
“I thought we deserved to win by more goals with the chances we had in the first-half, but I thought Izwan was fantastic. There were some saves which were not easy to pull off but he managed to do it and he was my man of the match.
Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Jufri Taha (Yasir Hanapi 62’), Fahrudin Mustafic, Madhu Mohana, Irwan Shah, Ryutaro Megumi, Hafiz Rahim (Fazli Ayob 27’), Son Yong Chan, Imran Sahib (Ismadi Mukhtar 17’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Ivan Dzoni
Warriors FC: Basil Chan (GK), Emmeric Ong, Hafiz Osman, Baihakki Khaizan (C), Ho Wai Loon, Hafiz Nor, Kento Fukuda, Firdaus Kasman, Jordan Webb, Shahril Ishak (Poh Yi Feng 83’), Joel Tshibamba (Ridhuan Muhammad 73’)