S.League champions Warriors in abject show
WARRIORS FC 1
(Andy Ahmad 70)
PERSIPURA JAYAPURA 3
(Lancine Kone 30, Boaz Solossa 34, Nelson Alom 58)
There was a short delay before Warriors FC coach Alex Weaver met the press following his team's 3-1 defeat by Indonesian side Persipura Jayapura in an AFC Cup Group E match at Jalan Besar Stadium last night.
The Englishman, who just four months ago revelled in the high of guiding his team to a Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League title triumph, was looking for a bottle of water.
If he was hoping a sip or two would cool him down, he was wrong.
There was little doubt he was far from happy with the way his team performed against the runners-up of last season's Indonesian Super League.
"We gave them two goals, literally, and the third was when we allowed a player to get to the ball from a throw-in. We gave the game to Persipura," fumed Weaver.
"Our players need to think and play quicker, and we do that a lot in training, and that's why I'm disappointed because our usual standards were not there tonight."
Persipura, who reached the semi-finals of the AFC Cup last season only to lose to eventual winners Al-Qadsia of Kuwait, hit the ground running from the first whistle.
Twice in the opening 10 minutes, they fashioned great opportunities to score only for Warriors left back Irwan Shah and then goalkeeper Neezam Aziz to come to the rescue for the home side.
The Indonesian side finally opened the scoring in the 30th minute, when Warriors centre back Marin Vidosevic's half-hearted clearance rolled straight to Ivorian forward Lancine Kone, who lashed home from inside the box.
Persipura doubled their lead four minutes later when Boaz Solossa's hopeful volley looped over Neezam.
The visitors sealed the game even before the hour mark when Nelson Alom stroked the ball into an empty net after Neezam's underhit his pass meant for Vidosevic.
Warriors substitute Andy Ahmad scored a consolation goal for the home side in the 70th minute, when Persipura goalkeeper Dede Sulaiman made a hash of his hopeful effort from distance.
As his team prepare to begin the defence of their S.League title against Balestier Khalsa on Sunday, Weaver believes his new-look squad - he released nine local players in the off season - have what it takes to go the distance again.
"No, it doesn't," the former Stoke City academy coach said, when asked if last night's defeat put question marks over the team's ability to defend their title.
"But, if we play like we did tonight against Balestier on Sunday, and give them the same opportunities, then the result will be the same."
OTHER GROUP E GAME
- Bengaluru 2 Maziya 1