Stags suffer blow to S.League title hopes
Title hopes hurt as Sundram's men fail to capitalise on second-half chances
They sat outside the dressing room, slumped against the wall, staring into space.
Tampines Rovers players knew the 0-0 result against an out-of-form Warriors FC outfit at the Jurong West Stadium last night just wasn't good enough.
Not for a side chasing the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League title.
Last night, the Stags rocked the frame of the goal twice and saw another effort cleared off the line.
Their inability to stick the ball in the back of the net means they have to hope for league leaders Brunei DPMM to slip up.
With four games left, Tampines are five points behind the Bruneian side, who have played a game more.
Coach V Sundramoorthy was visibly disappointed.
"Now, we need favours from other teams," said Sundram.
"I just hope Geylang can pull off something special and make the end of the league exciting."
Geylang International, the S.League's bottom side, entertain DPMM at the Bedok Stadium tonight.
Added Sundram: "We were excellent the whole week. The boys had the desire, they really wanted to win this game.
"But football is like this sometimes. You want it so bad, but it doesn't go your way."
Last Wednesday, Tampines beat DPMM 1-0 in Bandar Seri Begawan, a result that left some believing they could go on and overtake Steve Kean's men.
Last night's clash against the outgoing champions was a pivotal clash, and all of Tampines' best chances came in the second half.
First, Fabian Kwok's superb curling effort from 20 metres - with his weaker left foot - left Warriors goalkeeper Daniel Ong grasping thin air, only for it to come off the upright.
Then, Tampines defender Pedrag Pocuca saw his deflected volley loop over Ong towards goal, only for Warriors defender Marin Vidosevic to leap high and divert the ball over the bar with his head.
With 10 minutes to go, fullback Ismail Yunos saw his header bounce off the crossbar and out.
There was controversy when Tampines midfielder Roberto Alviz went to ground inside the Warriors penalty box, only for referee W Ravisantharan to award a free-kick as he had adjudged the infringement to have occurred outside the box.
A well-worked free-kick saw the ball played to 11-goal striker Rodrigo Tosi, who inexplicably blasted over from barely 10 metres.
The Warriors had several good chances too, but Fazrul Nawaz, Hafiz Rahim and Miroslav Pejic were all thwarted by Brazilian goalkeeper Rodrigo Pacheco.
Warriors' veteran caretaker coach Razif Onn, filling in for newly-appointed Moroccan Karim Bencherifa who is waiting for his employment pass, said his team would try and repeat their performance against DPMM on Friday.
"We've got nothing to lose," said the 62-year-old. "We are not out to do anyone any favours.
"We'll just do our best and try to get the three points in every game we play.
"If it turns out to be a favour, good for Tampines."
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