- Singapore Premier League
SPL : Tampines Rovers crash 4-1 to Lion City Sailors, in their 1st league match in 3 months!
(Lion City Sailors - Image from Live Stream)
By Sadat Osman
Lion City Sailors (LCS) came away with a comprehensive victory, as they beat Tampines Rovers (TRFC) 4-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium (JBS) on Sunday evening (15 Aug). This was Tampines' first return to the Singapore Premier League (SPL) in 3 months due to their commitments for the FIFA international break, followed by their streak of 6 straight losses in the Asian Champions League.
At JBS, both sides began throwing themselves forward from the first whistle with high intensity — it was end-to-end action with either club trying to gain the upper hand in the early stages. LCS had a nice tempo building up their attacks, just missing the final pass, while the Rovers were patient in possession, as they played the ball around in their own half.
It took awhile for the first real chance at goal, and it was the visitors who registered first. From a freekick on the left-hand side, Zehrudin Mehmedovic caught Hassan Sunny off-guard with a shot towards the near post. The Singapore international was quick enough to react and palm the ball out to safety.
That was the closest the Stags got in the first half, and it was all Sailors from then on. The home side dominated the proceedings — closing down the visitors at every corner and playing the ball quickly to make things happen upfront with Gabriel Quak and Faris Ramli. It was only in the 34th minute when they broke through.
(Gabriel Quak scores - Image from Live Stream)
Stipe Plazibat made a move into midfield, drawing his markers towards him before he released a lovely ball over the top to find Quak’s run from the right-hand side. The No.22 used his pace to meet the ball and lifted it over the on-rushing Syazwan Buhari to grab his 9th goal of the season.
Trailing 1-0, TRFC were not able to find their footing, giving the ball away too easily, allowing LCS to launch another attack just two minutes later. Faris was allowed to make a darting run on the right into a threatening position, before he found an unmarked Plazibat in the middle of the box to fire home his side’s 2nd goal of the evening.
(Stipe Plazibat scores 2-0 - Photo by Football Assn of Singapore)
Coming back after break with a 2-goal deficit, the Stags went to sleep again, as the Sailors took only 20 seconds from the restart to score their 3rd for the evening. The visitors gave away the ball in the middle of the park, allowing Faris to lead the counterattack. In a 3-v-2 situation, the winger spotted the run of Saifullah Akbar and found him with a pinpoint pass — the No.17 kept his cool to lob the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.
(Faris Ramli and Stipe Plazibat - Photo by Football Assn of Singapore)
The Sailors continued their unrelenting tactics and punished their opponents again two minutes later. In the 48th minute Faris did well to intercept the Stags’ poor passing and dashed into the final third. With Syazwan coming for him, he nipped a pass to an onside Plazibat who easily placed the ball into an empty net.
At 4-0, the home side maintained the pressure as they played the ball at stunning pace, moving quickly up and down the pitch in search of more goals. A deflated TRFC were still struggling, but against the run of play, the managed to pull one back.
(Boris Kopitovic for TRFC- Photo by Football Assn of Singapore)
In the 59th minute, the visitors finally managed to put some passes together in the final third with Kyoga Nakamura finding Mehmedovic in the box. He then played the ball to an unmarked Boris Kopitovic to slam home a consolation.
After pulling one back, TRFC looked like they had some wind in their sails – putting more bodies forward and forcing saves out of Hassan Sunny. However, it was too little too late as LCS held back their forward pressure, to hold on and claim the 3 points.
With LCS' Coach Kim Do-Hoon's 1st victory since his arrival 2 months ago, the Sailors now sit 2nd on the table with 31 points, Still with a game in hand, they're now just 3 points below the SPL leaders, Albirex Niigata (S).
TRFC, on the other hand, are 4th with 21 points, but they've played 2 games less then 3rd-ranked Hougang United FC. The Stags will return to Our Tampines Hub for this weekend's clash against their eastern rivals, Geylang International while LCS will next face Tanjong Pagar United away.
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!