Tampines end Home's unbeaten run
First-half blitz from Stags ends Home United's unbeaten start to the season
|Khairul Amri, 31 Shakir Hamzah, 40 Daniel Bennett, 45||Amiruldin Asraf 13, 82|
Tampines Rovers ended Home United's seven-match unbeaten run in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League at Jalan Besar Stadium last night, coming out tops in an entertaining physical encounter that threatened to boil over on many occasions.
The Stags fell behind to a 13th-minute goal by Home's 20-year-old forward Amiruldin Asraf, then buckled down and ran rampant, scoring three goals before referee G Letchman blew to end the half.
"We lost concentration and we had to pay for it today," said Protectors coach Aidil Sharin, who still found some positives despite seeing his team lose their unbeaten streak in the league.
"That is football. We try to keep the unbeaten run, but today we failed... The second half was much better because we knew that we had nothing to lose after trailing 3-1.
"Credit to my boys for giving their 100 per cent."
Home tried to match up to a robust Tampines midfield in the first half and it took South Korean midfielder Song Ui Young's defence-splitting pass to set up Amiruldin's opener in the 13th minute.
The Stags equalised in the 31st minute, after a Shahdan Sulaiman cross found its way to the far post where an unmarked Khairul Amri slotted home.
With just five minutes of the half to go, the Stags turned the game on its head.
They took the lead in the 40th minute through the defensive duo of Shakir Hamzah and Ismadi Mukthar.
Left back Shakir thundered home a close-range effort off a cross from right back Ismadi.
At the stroke of half-time, Tampines pulled further ahead as Daniel Bennett headed in a Shahdan corner to go into the break with a two-goal cushion.
Home huffed and puffed in the second half, and were given a lifeline in the 82nd minute by Amiruldin, who grabbed his second goal after being set free by a peach of a pass from central defender Abdil Qaiyyim.
A resolute Tampines then closed ranks to hold on to their one-goal advantage to leapfrog Home into second place on the nine-team S.League standings, four points behind leaders Albirex Niigata.
Home are third on 17 points, and will now prepare for the first leg of the Asian Football Confederation Cup (AFC) Asean zone semi-finals on Tuesday, travelling to Manila to face Global FC.
"We have to look forward because there is nothing else we can do," said Aidil.
His Tampines counterpart, Juergen Raab, was all smiles after the victory.
"It was a high-class football match with much pace, high intensity and good football from both sides," said Raab.
"Today, the reaction (to Home's first goal) was amazing, the boys showed quality and this is a good win for us."
- Garena Young Lions v Brunei DPMM (7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)