- Singapore Premier League
SPL: Lion City Sailors thrash Tampines Rovers 6-1, to keep the title race alive!
(Celebrations for Lion City Sailors - Photo from Lion City Sailors Facebook Page)
By Sadat Osman
A dominant display by Lion City Sailors FC (LCSFC) saw them secure a spot in next season’s AFC Champions League. And that's after they battered Tampines Rovers FC (TRFC) 6-1 at Our Tampines Hub (OTH) on Tuesday evening (21 September) in the Singapore Premier League (SPL).
It began as predicted, with the Stags sitting back to absorb everything thrown at them by the Sailors from the first whistle. Possession was dominated by the visitors, but the home side found some opportunities to break forward — to no avail.
And when it looked like we were going into the break with the score line all square, TRFC made the first costly mistake of the game in the 37th minute. Shahdan Sulaiman delivered a dangerous cross from a corner, but the clearance returned to his feet. He sent in a 2nd cross and this time it skidded off the wet surface, leaving the Stags’ defence in disarray, allowing Haiqal Pasha to pounce on the loose ball to slam it home from close range.
(LCS' Haiqal Paisha - Photo from Lion City Sailors Facebook Page)
At the start of the 2nd half, the home side introduced Huzaifah Aziz and showed some urgency as they pressed forward with intent of getting the equaliser. And within 6 minutes, they managed to break through — albeit via a Hariss Harun own goal. Armin Bosnjak found himself space on the right-hand as he looked for a reverse pass towards Zehrudin Mehmedovic in the box. Hariss intercepted the cross, but he inadvertently nicked it over Hassan Sunny and into his own net.
(TRFC's Armin Bosnjak - Photo from Tampines Rovers Facebook Page)
With scores level at 1-1, it took the Sailors only 5 minutes to regain the advantage via Gabriel Quak. The TRFC defence was caught napping again, as they allowed Saifullah Akbar to barge into the penalty box and fired a shot from a tight angle. Syazwan Buhari managed to get a hand to it before Andrew Aw had to hack it off the line. The clearance fell into the path of Gabriel lurking at the edge of the six-yard box and he made sure he found the net.
(LCS' Gabriel Quak - Photo by Football Association of Singapore)
At the 67-minute mark, the visitors bagged their 3rd goal of the evening. The Stags gave away possession too easily in midfield, allowing Song Uiyoung to start his blazing diagonal run towards the penalty area. The TRFC defence held off their challenges and fell like dominoes, before the newly minted Singaporean released a scoffed effort that somehow beat the goalkeeper and bobbled into the net.
(LCS' Song Uiyong - Photo by Football Association of Singapore)
With the wind all but knocked out of the Stags’ sails, they conceded again 6 minutes later. This time Kyoga Nakamura took his eye off the ball just outside his own penalty area, allowing Faris Ramli to snatch it off him. The winger, with nobody closing him down, had the time and space to pick his spot and placed it into the net off the right post. And it's 4-1 to the visitors!
(LCS' Faris Ramli- Photo by Football Association of Singapore)
3 minutes later, a dejected TRFC side was at the end of another LCS attack, and this showcased another comedy of errors at the back. Faris’ run on the left-hand side was unchecked and this gave him room to send a cross into the box. Still in disarray, the ball was not properly cleared, ricocheting off Daniel Bennett and into his own net.
(LCS' Song Uiyong - Photo from Lion City Sailors Facebook Page)
The final goal of the evening came in the 79th minute — the 6th for the Sailors and 2nd for Song. In a 5-v-3 situation, Faris released Diego Lopes with a deft through ball. The Brazilian was able to beat his marker and released a pass across the face of the goal for Song to knock it home from close range.
The big win sees the Sailors stay 2nd in the SPL table with 42 points — 2 behind league-leaders Albirex Niigata FC (S), while the Stags remain 4th with 25 points. The Stags return to action on 24 September (Fri) as they face the White Swans at the Jurong East Stadium, while the Sailors make another trip to OTH to take on Geylang International FC on 26 September (Sunday).
Sadat Osman had a 10-year career in the publication industry, where he covered several beats including current affairs, food, fishing, music, and football. As the former chief editor at Goal.com and a fan of Newcastle United FC since 1996, Sadat also had a trial as a goalkeeper at Tanjong Pagar United FC. But today he remains a frequent social player of the game, who fancies Lionel Messi. However, Sadat's playing style is unfortunately similar to that of Titus Bramble!