Tampines must win and pray for DPMM to lose
Tampines must beat Harimau Muda first and hope Balestier do them a favour against DPMM
TAMPINES ROVERS v HARIMAU MU DA
(Tonight, 8.15pm, Singtel TV Ch 111)
It has come down to the final day of the season and Tampines Rovers are still in with a chance to win the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League title.
Brunei DPMM are in pole position to claim their first-ever crown, possessing a two-point lead and a superior goal difference by one.
But, with a sixth S.League title in their sights, the Stags will be hoping history will repeat itself tonight.
On Nov 2, 2012, they were also battling it out with DPMM on the final day of the campaign and faced off against Harimau Muda, while their rivals entertained Balestier Khalsa in Bandar Seri Begawan.
A repeat of what happened three years ago - a 1-0 win for Tampines coupled with DPMM losing - would once again be enough to see the Stags crowned champions.
Tampines coach V Sundramoorthy is, however, aware that his side still have to keep their part of the bargain by defeating the Young Tigers at Jurong West Stadium tonight.
"There's no doubt we're excited and looking forward to the game," he told The New Paper.
"It is very important for us to do our job by getting the win over Harimau Muda. If we can do that, anything is possible.
"No doubt, DPMM are two points ahead, but the pressure is on them and Balestier are a good team who will be going there for the win.
"For us, first and foremost, we want to finish our season with a bang against Harimau Muda and the boys are really motivated.
"Then we have to hope for Balestier to beat DPMM, and why not? They've already done it twice this season."
Stags captain Mustafic Fahrudin, who scored the only goal in the win over Harimau Muda that clinched his side the 2012 title, admits he would be happy with a repeat of events.
Nonetheless, he has called on his teammates to get off to a flying start tonight to pile more pressure on their fellow title challengers.
With a wide grin, the 34-year-old said: "I'll be happy with exactly the same and I hope that is the case.
"We win 1-0, DPMM lose to Balestier… It will be great and I'll take it any time.
"We have to focus on ourselves. Definitely, people from both sides will be checking the results, so it'll be good for us if we start well.
"If we are able to open up the game and maybe score a couple of goals, it will definitely put more pressure on DPMM. Then it'll be interesting to see how well they cope with it."
One man who is no stranger to the high expectations at Tampines is midfielder Ismadi Mukhtar, who was part of the side that won three successive titles from 2011 to 2013.
Although their barren season last year has made them hungrier to succeed, Ismadi believes there is also extra motivation following recent developments.
"It would mean a lot to us, especially after finishing third last year," said the Singapore international.
"This year, it looked like we had the best team on paper, but we initially didn't perform to expectations, and everyone was ruling us out of title contention at one point.
"It would be a special moment indeed if we really do nick it (tonight), with some luck on our side.
"Especially, with regards to our former chairman Mr Teo Hock Seng (who recently handed over the role to Murali Krishna Ramachandra), it would be the best farewell gift."