This time, it's only joy for Fazrul at Selayang
TAMPINES ROVERS 1
(Fazrul Nawaz 26)
With an opportunistic stab of his right boot, Fazrul Nawaz exorcised the ghosts of Selayang Stadium last night.
The national striker now wears protective headgear in games, a la Petr Cech, after fracturing his skull and cheekbone when he was on the receiving end of a horror tackle playing in a Malaysia Cup match for the LionsXII at the Kuala Lumpur venue in Oct 2013.
Last night, he left the stadium a match-winner, after scoring the only goal in Tampines Rovers' 1-0 win over Malaysian outfit Selangor in their AFC Cup Group E match.
Fazrul pounced in the 26th minute when he diverted Hafiz Abu Sujad's mishit shot past Selangor goalkeeper Nor Azlan Razali.
Fazrul told The New Paper: "It feels great to score the winner and have a happy return here. A lot went through my mind when I first stepped on the Selayang pitch.
"But thank God, the team did well and it was a really good win for us."
Selangor are the current Malaysian Super League leaders but, playing their eighth game in 25 days, looked sluggish from the get-go.
In a surprise move, Tampines coach V Sundramoorthy left star man, former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant, and Irish striker Billy Mehmet on the bench.
Even Fazrul's goal midway through the first half did not jolt Selangor, although the 33-time Malaysia Cup winners did spend most of the second half camped in the Stags' half in search of an equaliser.
Winger Andik Vermansyah saw a powerful shot blocked by left back Irwan Shah in the 53rd minute, before Hafiz Kamal fizzed a free-kick from 20 metres just over.
But the Red Giants and their misfiring Liberian striker Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh never looked like they were going to find a way past Tampines goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.
With the win, Tampines sit top of Group E with two wins from two, after a 4-0 thumping of Bangladesh side Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi in their first match two weeks ago.
In last night's other group encounter, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi were beaten 2-0 by Philippine outfit Ceres la Salle.
Tampines host Ceres at the Jalan Besar Stadium next Tuesday in their third group game.