Fazrul finds joy at Jurong West this time
Tampines striker scores in first start after recovering from serious knee injury
|TAMPINES ROVERS||GEYLANG INT'L|
|(Fazrul Nawaz 54)||(Ricardo Sendra 85)|
It was at the Jurong West Stadium where Fazrul Nawaz tore an anterior cruciate ligament in an S.League match last August, ruling him out for almost a year.
Last night, at the same venue, the 32-year-old striker made a scoring return for Tampines Rovers when he gave his team the lead in a 1-1 draw against Geylang International.
Eagles goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari had blocked Fazrul's initial shot in the 54th minute, but the quick-thinking forward followed up with a delightful chip over the custodian.
"I did not expect to start today because I wanted to head into the season slowly. But I am glad to be back with the team," said the 84-capped Singapore international, who refused to get ahead of himself despite his goal.
"When I was out after my ACL injury, I felt disappointed watching the team from the stands.
"I wanted to be on the pitch with them, but I told myself to stay patient for my rehabilitation and recovery.
"For now, I am focusing on getting back to match fitness and taking one game at a time."
While the Stags welcome back a potential source of goals, they would be disappointed with the way they let slip two points in their pursuit of league leaders Albirex Niigata.
Five minutes from time, Shafiq Ghani swerved in a cross for Ricardo Sendra to head home the equaliser to give Geylang a share of the spoils.
Tampines remain second with 28 points after 13 games, three behind Albirex who have played a game less, while Home United are third with 26 points from 11 games.
Geylang stay fifth with 15 points from 12 matches.
Tampines coach Juergen Raab said: "I am very happy for Fazrul because he can finally start a match after so long and he managed to score a goal.
"This goal would do a lot of good to his confidence, although I think he wasn't so happy as we were not able to win the match.
"It would have been good to get the three points but, at the end of the day, we got what we deserved."
After seeing his team rescue a point in his first league game in charge as Geylang's caretaker coach, Noor Ali said: "The teamwork was solid from the boys even though Tampines piled on the pressure.
"I was confident of the three points because we drew 4-4 against Global in our last match, and the form we showed.
"For now, it's two points dropped... I'm not happy but I'm not disappointed.
"If the boys keep up with the performance, attitude and determination, I believe they can finish higher up the table."