Tampines Rovers seal AFC Cup victory with late goals
A three-goal salvo in the dying minutes helped Tampines Rovers salvage a 4-2 victory in an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Group F match against Cambodia's Nagaworld FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium last night.
The group-leading Stags were held 1-1 for much of the game and were in danger of losing their three-point advantage over second-placed Hanoi FC, who thrashed Yangon United 5-2 earlier in the day.
But things changed after Nagaworld's first-choice goalkeeper Sou Yaty was taken off in the 83rd minute due to injury.
Within four minutes, Tampines winger Jordan Webb found midfielder Yasir Hanapi, who controlled the ball before volleying it past Nagaworld's substitute custodian Samrith Seiha.
Celebrations were short-lived as the Cambodian outfit equalised just three minutes later through Nigerian forward Omogba Esoh, following a counter-attack.
But Tampines restored their one-goal advantage barely a minute later, when Ryutaro Megumi zoomed down the right flank and crossed for striker Khairul Amri to score with an overhead kick.
In the last minute of injury time, an unmarked Webb sealed victory for the Stags.
Nagaworld coach Meas Channa lamented their lack of fitness, saying: "(It's) always in the second half or last minute, that's our problem."
The Stags drew first blood after just three minutes through defender Irwan Shah, but Nagaworld levelled through Kouch Dani in the 14th minute and kept the hosts at bay.
Tampines coach Kadir Yahaya said the team were complacent following their early lead but deserved to win.
He said: "After we scored the first goal, we dropped gears. There were misplaced passes and players weren't moving to positions... We need to be more clinical in front of the goal."
With the win, Tampines are closing in on a place in the AFC Cup's Asean zone semi-finals. They will host Yangon in their next AFC Cup match on May 1.
Elsewhere, Home United defeated Lao Toyota 3-2 in a Group H game in Vientiane.
- Yangon United 2 Hanoi 5