Tampines and DPMM frustrated in S.League title chase
Tampines' Fahrudin misses penalty as Sundram and Kean wonder what might have been
TAMPINES ROVERS 1
(Mateo Roskam 54)
BRUNEI DPMM 1
(Shahrazen Said 5)
There were flying tackles, stray elbows and crunching challenges all over the pitch at the Jurong West Stadium last night.
By the time the dust settled on the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League clash between title rivals Tampines Rovers and Brunei DPMM, though, both teams trudged off the field with a share of the spoils, much to the delight of league leaders and reigning champions, Warriors FC.
Not surprisingly, both Tampines coach V Sundramoorthy and his opposite number, Steve Kean, felt their sides should have bagged all three points.
Sundram probably had the stronger claim, however, after watching usually-reliable captain Mustafic Fahrudin fluff his lines from the penalty spot in the 11th minute.
Said Sundram: "We should have beaten them.
"We had enough chances, especially in the second half and with the missed penalty.
"It was there for the taking."
Tampines were the form team heading into last night's fixture, having won three straight league games, scoring eight goals and conceding none along the way.
But DPMM took just five minutes to puncture their backline, after Shahrazen Said put the finishing touches on a counter-attack.
The home side were handed a chance to level the score just six minutes later, when the lively Firdaus Idros was hauled down in the box.
But Fahrudin, a crack spot-kick taker who most memorably fired home Singapore's winning penalty in the 2007 Suzuki Cup first-leg final against Thailand in front of 55,000 fans at the National Stadium, saw his effort palmed clear by DPMM goalkeeper Wardun Yusoff.
There was more bad news for the Stags in the 17th minute when right back Ismail Yunos was stretchered off with a hamstring pull.
Sundram's half-time pep talk appeared to do the trick as his boys emerged for the second half firing on all cylinders.
Firdaus surged brilliantly into the box but saw his shot saved by Wardun's fingertips.
And in the 54th minute, a tremendous 40-metre sprint down the right flank by one-time Singapore international Ridhuan Muhammad ended with him delivering the ball right to the feet of in-form striker Mateo Roskam, who tapped in his fifth goal in four games.
Tampines practically camped in the DPMM half in the second 45 minutes, but failed to fashion clear-cut opportunities for the winner.
Twice, they almost paid the price, but both times, Brazilian goalkeeper Rodrigo Pacheco came to their rescue by pulling off big saves off Shahrazen.
Reflected Sundram: "I knew we would get stronger than (DPMM) in the last 30 minutes because we played our last matches on the same day and they had to travel.
"And we pushed them. But we just could not finish.
"We can't turn back the clock so we just have to move on.
"I'm proud of the boys for their fighting spirit."
DPMM coach Kean said: "If I'm being a bit greedy tonight, I thought we did enough for all three points.
"I thought we had more clear-cut chances, whereas the half-chances went to Tampines.
"You're always disappointed when you draw after leading, but I'm not bitterly disappointed."
The result extended his team's winless run in the S.League to five matches, but the Scot, who formerly managed Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League, said: "Any momentum going forward is good.
"I'd much rather us pick up a point than not getting any."
- Geylang Int'l v Albirex Niigata (Bedok Stadium, 7.30pm)
“We should have beaten them. We had enough chances, especially in the second half and with the missed penalty. It was there for the taking.”
- Tampines Rovers coach V Sundramoorthy
“I thought we had more clear-cut chances, whereas the half-chances went to Tampines. You’re always disappointed when you draw after leading, but I’m not bitterly disappointed.”
- Brunei DPMM coach Steve Kean
TAMPINES: Rodrigo Pacheco, Ismail Yunos (Jufri Taha 17), Mustafic Fahrudin, Pedrag Pocuca, Ismadi Mukhtar, Ridhuan Muhammad, Isa Halim, Roberto Alviz (Fabian Kwok 75), Firdaus Idros (Jamil Ali 82), Mateo Roskam, Rodrigo Tosi
DPMM: Wardun Yussof, Aminuddin Zakwan, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Sairol Sahari, Hendra Azam (Yura Indera Putra 62), Rosmin Kamis, Paulo Sergio, Azwan Ali, Shahrazen Said, Rafael Ramazotti
TNP Man of the Match: Firdaus Idros (Tampines)