Laxon has every confidence in Affleck
Toeroek's here for the experience
Snitzel Spirit looks good for fifth win
S.League giants Tampines flex championship muscle
Sundram's Stags on title march as they warm up for DPMM test
TAMPINES ROVERS 2
(Ismadi Mukhtar 8, Mateo Roskam 50)
GEYLANG INT'L 0
V Sundramoorthy's Tampines Rovers are beginning to look like top contenders for this season's Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League crown.
Here are the Stags' statistics in the last three league games: 270 minutes played, eight goals scored, zero conceded, nine points racked up.
Last night, they made it three wins out of three with a fuss-free 2-0 win over Geylang International at the Jurong West Stadium. The result followed 3-0 victories over Hougang United last Friday and Home United on May 17, the last match before the S.League took a break for the South-east Asia Games last month.
Tampines are now only four points behind league leaders and defending champions Warriors FC.
It was the perfect way for Sundram's side to prepare for their big clash against fellow title hopefuls, third-placed Brunei DPMM, on Saturday.
Sundram, who knows all about title-winning campaigns, having famously led the LionsXII to the Malaysian Super League crown in 2013, is pleased with his side's form.
"It's a long season and every win will help us finish strongly," he said.
"We haven't conceded in our last three games and that's a strong point for the team, but right now our focus is on one game at a time.
"DPMM have the best players from Brunei and good foreigners too, so it'll be a real battle on Saturday."
Tampines secured the win last night thanks to early goals in each half by Ismadi Mukhtar - it was the winger's first goal for over three years - and in-form striker Mateo Roskam.
But they were more dominant than the scoreline suggested, and only the heroics of Geylang's veteran goalkeeper Yazid Yasin ensured the Eagles did not suffer a hiding.
The 36-year-old shot-stopper rolled back the years to deny the hosts time and again, most spectacularly from Firdaus Idros' snap shot in the 33rd minute and Isa Halim's shot that seemed destined for the top corner 12 minutes from time.
Mixed in with Yazid's flying saves and Tampines' classy display was a 15-minute delay in the second half due to a failure of one of the stadium's four floodlights.
With recent reports suggesting the S.League might turn semi-professional next year, the incident seemed like a bad joke.
Geylang head coach Jorg Steinebrunner did not turn up to the post-match press conference, with the official explanation being the German had lost his voice.
His assistant, Owen Monaghan, stood in, and paid tribute to Yazid.
"Yazid's been great for us all season and some of the saves he's made, along with those tonight... were unbelievable," said the Briton.
"He's like a 22-year-old. He trains very hard along with the other goalkeepers we have and his performance tonight was just reward.
"We're lucky to have him."
In last night's other match, DPMM were held to a surprise 1-1 draw with Hougang United in Bandar Seri Begawan.
Azwan Ali put the hosts ahead in 33rd minute, before Vuk Sotirovic equalised for Hougang in the 69th minute.
- TAMPINES: Rodrigo Pacheco, Ismail Yunos, Mustafic Fahrudin, Pedrag Pocuca, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Ismadi Mukhtar (Ridhuan Muhammad 84), Isa Halim, Roberto Alviz (Fabian Kwok 86), Firdaus Idros, Rodrigo Tosi, Mateo Roskam (Noh Alam Shah 88)\
- GEYLANG: Yazid Yasin, Anaz Hadee (Mustaqim Manzur 80), Yuki Ichikawa, Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha, Khairulnizam Jumahat (Shafeeq Faruk 73), Nor Azli Yusoff, Hafiz Nor, Tatsuro Inui, Shawal Anuar (Huzaifah Aziz 83), Jozef Kaplan
- Man of the Match: Yazid Yasin (Geylang, above)
Mexico coach Herrera sacked
FAS express 'disappointment' over football flop at SEA Games
FAS admits football team's display a disappointment; cites three 'learning points'
It was a-two-and-a-half year project aimed at propelling the National Under-23 side into the final of the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games football tournament at the new 55,000-capacity National Stadium, to battle for what would have been a first gold medal in the history of the event.
Some $3.5 million was believed to have been spent on overseas training camps and various other support forthcoming from external agencies, with coach Aide Iskandar and his team travelling twice to Turkey.
In the end, though, the team fell flat, booted out at the first hurdle in front of their own fans here last month.
After staying tight-lipped following an executive committee meeting on Tuesday to review the SEA Games debacle, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) issued a statement yesterday expressing disappointment over the result.
The national football body said support for the mission was "sufficient" to meet the target.
But, the FAS admitted that the "application" of the resources and the processes was what led to the Republic's most disappointing result in what was otherwise a wildly successful 2015 Games.
It also expressed disappointment with key members of its staff for engaging "in a public spat".
While no names were mentioned, it was a clear reference to U-23 head coach Aide and national teams coach Bernd Stange, who spoke to The Straits Times and The New Paper, respectively, after the Games.
The New Paper understands that the FAS exco will be calling for the duo to make a public apology to each other.
Aide resigned immediately after his team lost their final group match against Indonesia on June 11.
The future of 67-year-old German Stange is also uncertain.
His contract is reportedly up in September and many believe the former coach of Belarus, Iraq and the former East Germany will not be offered a new one.
The FAS review called the various conclusions "key learning points".
The FAS said that efforts will be made to review three major areas to ensure they will be managed up front in future (see sidebar on right).
A major point will be the management of key players, after senior players Faris Ramli and Sahil Suhaimi were moved to the LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League, instead of staying with S.League side the Courts Young Lions, essentially the Singapore U-23 side.
The move is believed to have led to mounting fatigue of the duo, disunity in the squad and ultimately poor performances by the two players last month.
It also pointed to the criticism of Aide's team playing long-ball football, and questions that have been raised in the football fraternity about the processes of the National Teams' department and the manner in which it has managed these issues.
The FAS said these "learning points" will be "useful to allow for all parties to improve in for future competitions."
The next SEA Games will be hosted in Kuala Lumpur, and TNP understands that the Singapore football team will be tasked to win a medal.
- Review team management’s decisions before and during the tournament, and tactical decisions;
- Review the team’s preparation, including the rest and training schedules;
- Review the involvement of parties, and the communication issues between management, technical and support staff.