Stags beat DPMM on return to Tampines
Victory over DPMM at Our Tampines Hub lifts them to second in the table
|TAMPINES ROVERS||BRUNEI DPMM|
|(Shakir Hamzah 27, Shahdan Sulaiman 83-pen)|
Tampines Rovers made a triumphant return to their refurbished home at Our Tampines Hub last night as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over Brunei DPMM in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League.
An encouraging 4,676-strong crowd was in attendance as Shakir Hamzah caught DPMM goalkeeper Awangku Mu'izzudin off his line to draw first blood in the 27th minute, before Shahdan Sulaiman's late penalty sealed the win for the Stags.
Tampines coach Juergen Raab was pleased with the win, which rewarded their diehard fans and kept the pressure on league leaders Albirex Niigata.
"It was a good performance by the team, and it was entertainment for the crowd," said the German.
"We knew that DPMM will try to play long balls on the counter-attack, but we dealt with that well.
"Overall, it was a well-deserved win and we are now second place on the table to maintain the pressure on Albirex."
Raab added that it's too early for title talk, preferring to dwell on his team's victory on their return to the east after spending six seasons in the west while their old stadium made way for a new hub.
He said: "It is now not a question for the title, but it is a good sign to come back to the new stadium with a win.
"We need to build up a fortress here, and we will see what we can achieve at the end of the season."
Shakir had the fans on the edge of their seats in the fifth minute when he let fly a sweet left-footed shot but his effort was saved by DPMM custodian Awangku.
Twenty-two minutes later, he gave the Stags fans something to cheer as he combined with forward Fazrul Nawaz in a fabulous one-two to chip over the Wasps' goalkeeper.
DPMM could have equalised through Azwan Saleh in the 40th minute, but he was denied by the post after connecting with Adi Said's pinpoint cross.
Both sides attacked relentlessly after the break. But it was Tampines who sealed the win when Ivan Dzoni was brought down in the box and Shahdan coolly converted from the spot in the 83rd minute.
DPMM coach Steve Kean was left to rue his side's missed chances. He said: "We had great chances in the first half, but I feel that the scoreline flattered Tampines today.
"We tried to lure Tampines' back three out, to create space for our players to attack.
"We are creating chances right now, but we are not scoring goals."