Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bacina accept decision

He might have only been dismissed on Tuesday, but former Tampines Rovers coach Nenad Bacina appears to be taking things well.

The Croatian reiterated that it was just the way things worked in this business.

“This is something which is common in football,” Bacina began.

“There is no purpose in thinking too much, and I have to accept things. Maybe I feel sorry that I had no affinity to win the league [with Tampines], but we won the Charity Shield.”

Bacina said that he accepted the pressure that would come with the job when he agreed to take charge of the defending champions at the start of the season, but admitted it was still a bit of a shock for him when he received the call on Tuesday afternoon.

“Of course I was surprised because I was in preparations [for the next game], but I accept [the decision],” he recalled.

“I haven’t spoken to the players [because I was] recommended not to come down [to training] yesterday, but I will try to find a way to meet the players.”

The 42-year-old is in the midst of packing his things and will likely fly back home to Croatia in a week’s time, but did not rule out the possibility of coaching in the region again, including at former club Hougang United.

“I will try to find another job because there is no point crying [over what has happened] and I have to move on,” Bacina said.

“In Croatia I have no option [to coach as yet]. Over here, there is some interest. I’ll try to stay in the region [Southeast Asia].

“Of course, it is difficult to finalise some things at the moment. I'm waiting for some calls, I’ll see how [it works out].  These things happen all the time and I will consider any offer [that comes my way].”

AFC Cup results sealed Bencia fate as Tampines sacked him and two imports

Tampines Rovers has sacked coach Nenad Bacina with general manager Tay Peng Kee taking over for the remainder of the 2013 season.

"I have taken over the team as of this afternoon [Tuesday]," Tay, the ex-Singapore international, said. "Basically, it was a decision from the management.

"For now, I will be in charge until the end of the season and we'll see where it goes from there."

Tay revealed his immediate target is to put Tampines back on track in their bid to retain the title, although the club's stature means he will also have to do well in their upcoming RHB Singapore Cup and Starhub League Cup fixtures.

"Our focus has always been to win the league title," he added.

"But this is Tampines. We always want to do well in every competition we play in, and that's what I'll be looking to do."

And the club chairman Teo Hock Seng did not mince his words on why he chose to let the Croatian depart as he said: “Following our AFC Cup exit, we decided we had to change direction now ... We spent money assembling a strong squad and yet we were kicked out in the early stages. It’s obvious the team is struggling."

Two other imports - Martin Wagner and Sead Hadzibulic- has departed as well with Teo unhappy with how Wanger has failed to gel with the team while disappointed with the goal return of Hadzibulic who has only scored 3 times in the league.

Teo claimed the club is already looking for their replacement in June transfer window.

Agu Casmir sign for Sun Hei

International Agu Casmir has sign for Hong Kong side Sun Hei according to fans from the region.

The 29-year-old has been without a club for the past 6 months.

Sun Hei has been champions of Hong Kong for 3 times in their 37 years existence but the last time was in 2004/2005 season and last season they finished 7th in the Division.

Quote from Hong Kong fan
Agu Casmir (29歲)新加坡國腳前鋒

Ridhuan moved to new club

Former Singapore international Muhammad Ridhuan has moved to a new club on loan according to GOAL website

Indonesia Super League (ISL) club Arema Indonesia had previously wanted to sack him for 'poor performances'' but reversed their decision but the former Singapore international will not see any further action with them this season as the player will be loaned out to Persisam Samarinda.

“I will head over to Samarinda and play for Persisam," Ridhuan told, after Arema had announced a week ago that they were letting him go.

“I am leaving Malang [Arema’s home town] with a heavy heart as the people here are friendly and the supporters and players are close with each other.”

Although Ridhuan is sad to leave his loyal fans, he hopes they understand the predicament he is in and promised to give his best for his new club.

“The atmosphere in Kanjuruhan Stadium will spur any players on to play their best," he said.

"In short, I feel like an extended family member of Malang. But this is the life of a footballer - we might move to [a] different club every season.

"I am a professional and if Arema is to play in Samarinda, I will do all I can to ensure my team win.”

Ridhuan has thus far played five times for the club this season, twice as a starter, but has failed to impress coach Rahmad Darmawan in those matches.

Precious return to Indonesia as Alam Shah faced sack

Noh Alam Shah face the sack according to Goal website as his Indonesian club PSS Slemen are disappointed with him.

The fans are furious with Noh who is the biggest earner in the club but have not contributed as much in their eyes as the 32-year-old has only notched 2 goals so far.

And the club management admitted they cannot ignored it so they have to review Noh position in the club. 

While it is bad news for Noh, there are welcome development for former Singapore international Precious Emuejeraye who has secured a contract with ISL club Persidafon Dafonsoro .

The 30-year-old had been linked with S-league clubs Woodlands Wellington and Tanjong Pagar United after he was sacked from Persiba Balikpapan but it seem the Indonesian side had a better offer.

The defender made his debut for his new club in a 3-1 loss against his former club Sriwijaya FC on May 16.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Singapore announce Myanmar and Laos friendly

FAS has announced we are playing Myanmar and Laos on June 4 and June 7 respectively.

Both games are away games

These will be new coach Bernd Stange first test.

Here is the squad the German has named for the games

Izwan Mahbud (LionsXII)
Hassan Sunny (Warriors FC)

Faritz Hameed (LionsXII)
Shakir Hamzah (LionsXII)
Safuwan Baharudin (LionsXII)
Baihakki Khaizan (LionsXII)
Afiq Yunos (Young Lions)
Noh Rahman (Home United)
Shaiful Esah (Tampines Rovers)
Rosman Sulaiman (Woodlands Wellington)
Shariff Samat (Woodlands Wellington)

Faris Ramli (LionsXII)
Gabriel Quak (LionsXII)
Shahril Ishak (LionsXII)
Hariss Harun (LionsXII)
Isa Halim (LionsXII)
Adam Swandi (FC Metz)
Hafiz Nor (Tanjong Pagar)
Shahdan Sulaiman (Tampines Rovers)

Qiu Li (Balestier Khalsa)
Indra Sahdan (Home United)
Khairul Amri (Tampines Rovers)
Sufian Anuar (Warriors FC)

Lost a battle not the war

Tampines Rovers coach Nenad Bacina was overwhelmed with the result as Balestier Khalsa crushed the Champions 4-0 on the night.

“I have to congratulate Balestier for scoring four goals," he solemnly said.

"They had Paul [Cunningham] right in front and their plan was to play long balls to him.

“We conceded two goals late in the first half and naturally spirits were down. We came back out in the second half refreshed and ready but we conceded two more goals.

"We tried to come back and play beautiful football in midfield but we failed."

Bacina also admitted that he did not expect Balestier to play as they did tonight.

“I have seen a few game of theirs [Balestier] and I have not seen them play like that," he explained. "Perhaps playing against the top team and defending champions gave them extra motivation."

The impact of the scoreline did not seem to have an impact on Bacina, but he was more concerned with the outcome of the match.

“For me, where it was 4-0 or 1-0 doesn’t matter as three points are equally gone," he claimed.

"I have to say it is not a tragical defeat as we still have a game in hand. We may have lost the battle today but we have not lost the war."

Darren Stewart not surpirsed by victory

Balestier Khalsa coach Darren Stewart explained that he had stepped up the intensity of his team's training, while Tampines Rovers coach Nenad Bacina appeared overwhelmed by their 4-0 loss

Balestier Khalsa enjoyed a rare 4-0 victory over league leaders Tampines Rovers at the Toa Payoh stadium on Saturday evening, as goals from Qiu Li, Kim Minho, Paul Cunningham and Park Kang Jin settled the score.

Clearly a happy figure by the touchlines, Balestier coach Darren Stewart explained to the media how his side achieved the result.

“After our disappointing performances [in the] past weeks, we grouped together and we increased the intensity of our training,” said the Australian.

“I asked the boys if we could train with every ounce of energy left. We trained hard on Monday and Tuesday plus, we did a double session on Wednesday.

“I have to say the boys really trained their hardest - I’ve never seen such intensity in training through my time coaching."

The former Gombak United coach also had no doubts about his team’s ability to repeat tonight’s performance.

“Can we do it [winning] on a more consistent basis? I would say yes," Stewart remarked.

"To be honest, I wasn’t surprised at the result knowing how well we trained this week.”

When asked to comment on any specific player’s contribution to the win, Stewart declined to do so.

“I would destroy the team if I were to highlight a player for their performance tonight because everyone did good," he asserted.

"The players that came on were brilliant and those who did not play tonight were happier than me at the win!"

Stewart went on to claim that the win was the best game of his coaching career.

“I’m more happy with the clean sheet than the four goals to be honest," he delightedly said.

"It is the best game and win in the six years I’ve been a coach. But full credits to the players! I did nothing, I’m overrated but they did it all.

"They trained since Monday and played in the field tonight!"

Champions brought down to earth by Balestier

Balestier Khalsa caused the shock of the round as they destroyed Champions Tampines Rovers 4-0 at Toa Poyah.

They Champions had come into the game with 2 win with no goals conceded while scoring 4 themselves yet it was the home side who went for the jugglers from the start as they take a two goals with strike from Qiu Li and Kim Minho.

Unlike their last game against Geylang International when they threw away their two-goal lead, Balestier kept up the pressure in the second period with a goal immediately from skipper Paul Cunningham.

With a three goal lead, it was a matter how big the final margin will be as Park Kang Jin notched another goal to send the champions to their worst defeat of the season.

Second placed Albirex Niigata (S) took full advantage as they beat Hougang United 2-1 with a double from  Kazuki Sakamoto while Cheetahs goal came from Mamadou Diallo.

In other games, it ended in draws for both of them as Warriors FC drew 1-1 with Woodlands Wellington and DPMM Brunei was held to a 1-1 draw with Courts Young Lions.

Inui Tatsuro got the goal for the Warriors with Atsushi Shimono replying for the Rams.

In the DPMM-Cubs game, Fareez Farhan goal gave the Cubs their first point of the season after Adi Said had given the Brunei side the lead.

Hougang United
Fadhil Salim (GK), Faizal Amir, Hasree Zais, Syaqir Sulaiman, Lau Meng Meng (C), Nurhilmi Jasni (Basit Hamid 85'), Thomas Beattie (Fairoz Hasan 78'), Azhar Sairudin, Fazli Jaffar, Mamadou Diallo, Liam Shotton (Jerome Baker 69')


Balestier Khalsa
Zaiful Nizam (GK), Yusiskandar Yusop (Zulkiffli Hassim 84'), Paul Cunningham (C), Tengku Mushadad (Hamqaamal Shah 79'), Jaslee Hatta, Kim Minho, Park Kang Jin, Poh Yi Feng, Syed Thaha, Obadin Aikhena, Qiu Li (Ruhaizad Ismail 66')

Tampines Rovers
Sasa Dreven (GK) (Ridhuan Barudin 35'), Jufri Taha, Shaiful Esah, Seiji Kaneko, Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Shahdan Sulaiman, Imran Sahib, Firdaus Kasman (Jamil Ali 71'), Aleksandar Duric (Martin Wagner 56'), Sead Hadzibulic,  Khairul Amri


Warriors FC
Hassan Sunny (GK), Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Kazuyuki Toda (Matthew Abraham 84'), Abdil Qaiyyim, Daniel Bennett (C), Tatsuro Inui, Shimpei Sakurada, Marin Vidosevic, Shi Jiayi (Mislav Karoglan 71'), Sufian Anuar, Erwan Gunawan (Prakash Manikam 11')

Woodlands Wellington
Yazid Yasin (GK), Moon Soon Ho, Shahril Alias, Shariff Samat, Rosman Sulaiman, Atsushi Shimono, Armanizam Dolah (C)'(Ridhwan Osman 84'), Taufiq Rahmat, Farizal Basri (Chang Jo Yoon 61'), Ang Zhiwei, Fadhil Noh (Goh Swee Swee 69)


Courts Young Lions
Syazwan Buhari (GK), Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Eddie Chang, Raihan Rahman (C), Anumanthan Kumar, Fareez Farhan (Muhaymin Salim 88'), Iqbal Hamid Hussain, Sahil Suhaimi, Sufianto Salleh (Faiz Salleh 64'), Farhan Rahmat (Afiq Noor 81')

Vallee: My confidence was rewarded

Tanjong Pagar United coach Patrick Vallee was pleased with how his side bounced back from two successive losses in their win over Warriors FC.

It may have been a rather scrappy affair, punctuated at times with some good football, allied to committed defending by both sides, but Tanjong Pagar United coach Patrick Vallee was more than pleased to secure the three points on Saturday night, after suffering two defeats he felt his team did not really deserve.

They needed to bounce back and they did with a fighting effort in their 2-1 win against Warriors FC after the physical encounter against Balestier Khalsa at Toa Payoh, and the less-than-satisfying loss in Pasir Gudang to Harimau Muda as recently as last Tuesday night.

“I am very happy with the way my team played and after the last two matches, when I felt I was entitled to be angry with certain things - not with my players, I should add - I am pleased that my confidence in them was rewarded tonight,” Vallee declared.

“All of the players did well, including the foreign players, but I was especially pleased to see both goals coming from two of my local players.

“I told them in training that I wanted to see the local players score more of the goals [than they have so far] and they must have been paying attention!

“Both teams played [good] football tonight, which I was pleased to see and the way we fought back from being a goal down was very good.”

Jaguars close gap on Albirex

Tanjong Pagar United close the gap on Albirex Niigata (S) to two points after defeating Warriors FC 2-1 at Queentown Stadium.

Sufian Anuar had given the away side the opening goal before Tanjong Pagar grabbed all 3 points thanks to goals from Asraf Rashid and Hafiz Nor.

In another game, goals from Ridzuan Abdunloh and Yazid Zaini gave Harimau Muda all 3 points against Woodlands Wellington as they defeated the Rams 2-0.

Woodlands Wellington
Yazid Yasin (GK), Sunghwan Cho, Shariff Samat, Rosman Sulaiman, Atsushi Shimono, Armanizam Dolah (c), Moon Soon Ho, Farizal Basri (Taufiq Rahmat 77'), Ang Zhiwei, Chang Jo Yoon, Goh Swee Swee (Fadhil Noh 57)


Tanjong Pagar United
Shamsudin Hashim (GK), Anthony Aymard, Azhar Ahmad (Hanafi Salleh 76'), Zahid Ahmad, Asraf Rashid (K Vikraman 93'), Ahmad Latiff (C), Kamel Ramdani, Hafiz Nor, Sazali Salleh, Ismael Benahmed, Monsef Zerka

Warriors FC
Hassan Sunny (GK), Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Kazuyuki Toda, Abdil Qaiyyim, Marin Vidosevic, Daniel Bennett (C), Ruzaini Zainal (Prakash Manikam 72'), Shi Jiayi, Mislav Karoglan, Sufian Anuar, Erwan Gunawan

Lee feeling at Home in Singapore

While players often take a while to settle down in a foreign country and at a different club, it's clear that - 14 games into life at the Bishan Stadium and with six goals to his name already - 35-year-old Korean international Lee Kwan-woo is enjoying life in his new home.

Granted, it has not been the best of seasons so far for the Protectors as they are currently fourth on the table.

Still, with over half of the regular campaign gone, there have been many positives to take for Home.

For one, the defence which had been so vulnerable last term has looked steady with the arrivals of new captain Noh Rahman and Sirina Camara, while consistent displays from the likes of Nor Azli and Masrezwan Masturi has justified the club's decision to retain them.

With established defenders Juma'at Jantan and Sevki Sha'ban still finding fitness after injury layoffs, one expects the Protectors backline can only get stronger in the coming weeks.

Further up the field, old boys like Indra Sahdan Daud and Firdaus Idros have combined well with new signings Jordan Webb and Hafiz Rahim to add a new level of potency to their side's attack, but there's no denying the star of the show at the Bishan Stadium so far has been Lee.

Although he has made a name for himself as a playmaker over a decade a playing in the K-League, the Seoul native has been deployed as a striker to good effect and is currently the league's joint fourth-highest scorer.

Nonetheless, Lee, who is said to enjoy a good relationship with all of his team-mates, insists his main focus remains on the team's performance, rather than individual accolades.

"As an attacker, I've managed to get amongst the goals but that's not my main focus. Home United have not been [S.League] champions for a long time and I want to continue working towards that.

"A lot of players were changed from last season and it takes time to get to know one another. That's why it took us awhile to get going in the first three to four games.

"But we haven't had a game where we were beaten convincingly, which is why I'm very confident about our level of performance.

"We are currently fourth but I'm not going to lose my target [of winning the title]. We will try our best and I remain very confident."

Interestingly, Home have been victorious every time Lee has scored so far this season and some of them have been convincing wins over Balestier Khalsa, Tanjong Pagar United and Woodlands Wellington.

But when asked which game has particularly stood out for him this season, he curiously picked out the 2-1 defeat to Albirex Niigata (S) in the second week, much to the bemusement of his coach Lee Lim-saeng, who was acting as translator for the interview.

"The most memorable game so far for me was the loss to Albirex," Lee explained. "I feel that it's very difficult to play against them.

"We had drawn [0-0] against DPMM FC in the first game and in the second game against Albirex, I think it was my best performance.

"Also, if we had won that game, I think we would be in a much better position and the team would be higher in morale. That's why that's the game that stands out."

Off the field, the Home No. 13 also expressed satisfaction at how he's adjusted to life in Singapore and revealed he's already developed a bit of a hobby since moving over.

"I've done a few things in my spare time," he added. "I've met with the people from the people from the Korean Association [in Singapore] and I've been watching plenty of European football on the television.

"I've been trying to find good local food. I like yong tau foo [stuffed beancurd], I went to Geylang to eat frog once and I've been going back since because I like it.

"Plus, I also like durian."

While the significant number of Koreans in Singapore has clearly helped Lee settle in Singapore, his presence has also afforded his fellow countrymen the chance to watch one of their heroes in action on a weekly basis.

And the former Suwon Bluewings captain is appreciative of the support they have given him, with the stands regularly littered with dozens of Korean fans whenever he takes to the field.

"When I played in the K-League, there were so many local fans watching the games," Lee revealed. "This is the first time I've seen Koreans overseas.

"It's a different feeling and I appreciate their support. Hopefully, they will continue to support the team throughout the season."

Lee won 13 caps for South Korea throughout his career and was named in the K-League Best XI on three occasions before deciding to join Home.

Home defeat second-placed Albirex

While the fight for top may  well be over as the Champions, Tampines Rovers, continue to romp away, second place is up for grab as Albirex Niigata (S) went down 0-1 to Home United in the LIVE televised match.

Lee Kwan Woo, considered Home best player thus far, gave the Protectors the lead from a free-kick and the two-time champions shut up shop after that to gave them third points to maintain their hold of the top 4 position.

Tanjong Pagar United failed to close up on Albirex as they showcased their inconsistent form again when they lost to Harimau Muda 0-3.

Ridzuan Abdunloh, with a brace, and Maxsius Musa got the Malaysian goals in their win

Home United, with the win, are a further one point behind the Jaguars and a further 3 behind Albirex..

In other games, Hougaang United defeated DPMM Brunei 2-1 and Balestier Khalsa drew 2-2 Geylang International.

Goals from Azhar Sairudin and Thomas Beattie gave the Cheetahs all 3 points with Shahrulrizal Abd Rahman scoring for the Brunei side.

In the Eagles-Tigers match-up, goals from Paul Cunningham and Kim Minho had given Balestier a 2-0 lead at half-time but Geylang fought back in the second period to level it up with goals from Wahyudi Wahid and Jozef Kaplan. 

Tanjong Pagar United
Shamsudin Hashim (GK), Anthony Aymard, Hanafi Salleh, Azhar Ahmad, Zahid Ahmad DF (C), Kamel Ramdani, Hafiz Nor, Sazali Salleh (Asraf Rashid 46'), K Vikraman, Ismael Benahmed, Monsef Zerka


Hougang United
Fadhil Salim (GK), Syaqir Sulaiman, Hasree Zais, Lau Meng Meng (C), Faizal Amir, Thomas Beattie, Nurhilmi Jasni (Fairoz Hasan 85'), Fazli Jaffar (Shahir Hamzah 83'), Azhar Sairudin, Mamadou Diallo, Liam Shotton (Basit Hamid 87')


Geylang International
Takuma Ito (GK), Khairulnizam Jumahat, Duncan Elias, Norihiro Kawakami, Delwinder Singh, Nurhazwan Norasikin (Basil Teo 46'), Fabian Kwok, Taufiq Ghani (Ahmad Khidir 82'), Jalal (Andrew Tan 46'), Jozef Kaplan (C), Wahyudi Wahid

Balestier Khalsa
Zaiful Nizam (GK), Paul Cunningham (C), Obadin Aikhena, Jaslee Hatta, Syed Thaha, Ridwan Jamil, Kim Min-ho, Zulkiffli Hassim, Ruhaizad Ismail (Hamqaamal Shah 62'), Poh Yi Feng (Yusiskandar Yusop 62'), Jung Hee-bong (Shafuan Sutohmoh 73')


Home United
Shahril Jantan (GK), Sofiyan Abdul Hamid, Juma'at Jantan (Indra Sahdan 46'), Noh Rahman (C), Ismail Yunos, Sirina Camara, Hafiz Rahim, Jordan Webb (Nor Azli Yusoff 86'), Lee Kwan Woo, Masrezwan Masturi, Fukui Masato (Haziq Azman 68')

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bernd Stange is new national coach

German Bernd Stange has been appointed as the new national coach of Singapore.

The 65-year-old has been national coach of East Germany (1984-1988), Oman (2001), Iraq (2002-2004) and Belarus (2007-2011).

Other than that he had also held the helm for East Germany Under-21 and Olympic team in the 1970s to 1980s.

During those time, he was credited for building solid foundation for the national side especially his last assignment, Belarus, where he managed to not only blood in young players but also leads then to draws against Turkey, Germany and Argentina and a famous victory over Holland in the Euro 2008 Qualifiers. 

At club level, he was most impressive at Cypriot Apollon Limassol when he first recuse them from relegation in the 2004/2005 season and then won their first championship in 12 years next season.

It was also done with a club record 64 points - which is still standing as of now - and they finished unbeaten all season. Apollon was then the only undefeated team in Europe, running an unbeaten streak since 12 March 2005 (30 games).

Other clubs he managed outside of defunct East German clubs are Hertha Berlin (1991-1992), Lokomotive Leipzig (1993-1994), Dnipro (1995-1996), CSKA Kiev (1996-1997), Perth Glory (1998-2000)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy for a break

The Tampines Rovers coach Nenad Bacina was glad his side could finally rest after a gruelling schedule.

The Tampines juggernaut rolled on relentlessly, capturing a solid 3-0 win over a workmanlike Hougang United after a vital change had been made by Stags coach Nenad Bacina soon after the hour mark.

Bringing on the free-scoring Aleksandar Duric proved the catalyst for victory for a side that had run out of fresh ideas to combat a watchful Hougang.

“In the first half our passing was slow,” Bacina observed. “That allowed Hougang to slow the game to a pace that suited them.

“In the second-half we moved the ball much faster, and it made a big difference. After we introduced Duric, we were more composed.”

The Tampines boss was also glad for the upcoming break his side will enjoy after a grueling schedule so far this season.

“We had a tiring game against Geylang International just three days ago, so the players will welcome the break after this match,” Bacina said.

“We [have] played 19 matches this year already while most of the other teams have only played 12, and playing those extra seven games was hard for us.

“In this match, at times, Hougang had 10 players behind the ball and we had few scoring opportunities.

“The three points are very welcome, continuing our good run and after this I am giving the players three days off as we don’t play again for 15 days.

“I’m sure the players are sick of the sight of one another and of me, after being together for three months without a break, so if any of us meet in the street I’ll not be surprised if we ignore one another!”

Gap open up at top

Champions Tampines have opened up a 5 point-gap at the top after they won both their matches in the week.

First, they defeated Arch-rival Geylang 1-0 with a goal Jamil and then 4 days later they beat Hougang 3-0 with Aleksandar Duric coming off the bench to score a brace while Khairul Amri added the last goal.

Both time, when their main strikeforce could not deliver, they had their backup and this is why they have now won an impressive 31 points from a possible 36.

Struggling to keep up is second-placed Albirex Niigata (S) as they cannot afford to drop point and that is what they did as they beat Warriors 3-2 but the eight-time champions pushed them close as despite falling behind 2-0 and 3-1, the Choa Chu Kang side refused to give up each time.

Shingo Suzuki first gave the White Swans the lead in the first half and then moment after the break, they added a second and the game should have been over but Marin Vidosevic forced one back within minutes

Bruno Castanheira then put the White Swans two goals clear but Mislav Karoglan saw to it the Japanese will have an uncomfortable end as he pull one back with another 20 minutes and the Croatian could have tied things after he dispossesed White Swans goalkeeper Hiroaki Hara late on, but could only sail his shot wide from a very tight and narrow angle.

In another game, Home United players are also in an uncomfortable position after they went down 2-3 to DPMM Brunei who only playing with 1 foreigner, Tales Ricarte Santos,who did the damage with his two goals after Adi Said gave the Brunei side the lead.

Goals from Masrezwan Masturi and Jordan Webb had appeared to gave the Protectors a share of the point before the Brunei Brazilian ace popped up in injury time with his goal.

Indeed Home United boss Paul Lee was so angry with his team, he decided to skip the press interview after the match to' have a word with his team'.

Considering Lee reputation, it was not a comfortable night for Home on their way back to Singapore.

Tampines Rovers
Sasa Dreven (GK), Jufri Taha, Mustafic Fahrudin (C), Seiji Kaneko, Imran Sahib (Ahmed Fahmie 85'), Firdaus Kasman, Jamil Ali, Shaiful Esah, Aleksandar Duric, Martin Wagner (Shahdan Sulaiman 53'), Sead Hadzibulic (Khairul Amri 75')

Geylang International
Takuma Ito (GK), Khairulnizam Jumahat (Nurhazwan Norasikin 67'), Khayrulhayat Jumat, Norihiro Kawakami, Delwinder Singh, Yasir Hanapi (Andrew Tan 83'), Fabian Kwok, Taufiq Ghani, Jalal (Duncan Elias 79'), Jozef Kaplan (C), Wahyudi Wahid


Warriors FC
Hassan Sunny (GK), Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Daniel Bennett (C), Shimpei Sakurada, Ruzaini Zainal, Shukor Zailan (Matthew Abraham 68'), Shi Jiayi, Mislav Karoglan, Marin Vidosevic, Erwan Gunawan (Sufian Anuar 68'), Prakash Manikam (Amirul Haziq 85')


Home United
Shahril Jantan GK (C), Noh Rahman, Sirina Camara, Hafiz Rahim, Jordan Webb, Firdaus Idros, Lee Kwan Woo, Masrezwan Masturi, Nor Azli Yusoff (Haziq Azman 58'), Fukui Masato (Indra Sahdan 49'), Song Ui Young


Tampines Rovers
Sasa Dreven (GK), Jufri Taha, Shaiful Esah, Mustafic Fahrudin (C), Seiji Kaneko, Shahdan Sulaiman, Imran Sahib (Anaz Hadee 90'), Firdaus Kasman, Jamil Ali (Aleksandar Duric 63'), Sead Hadzibulic (Martin Wagner 85'), Khairul Amri

Hougang United
Fadhil Salim (GK), Syaqir Sulaiman, Hasree Zais, Lau Meng Meng (C), Thomas Beattie (Fairoz Hasan 86'), Jeremy Chiang (Fazly Hasan 46'), Azhar Sairudin, Fazli Jaffar, Liam Shotton, Nurhilmi Jasni (Eziakor Robert 77'), Mamadou Diallo

DPMM released 3 of their foreigners

DPMM Brunei have announced the club are releasing  the trio of striker Ivan Bosnjak, midfielder Stephen Auvray and defender Dino Drpic.

While the departure of Stephen Auvray was no shock as he has been out of the team since the 4-2 win against Geylang International back in March where he was criticized for his performance up to then and blamed for both of the Eagles goals on the night.

However nobody saw the departure of Ivan Bosnjak and Dino Drpic, especially head coach Vjeran Simunic who admitted he has no part in the decision.

The Croatian insists he has moved on from the club's decision to terminate the players' contacts and has more pressing matters to worry about.

"I respect every decision the management makes and am already focused on the next game with the rest of the team," he said.

Starhub League Cup draw

Group A
Harimau Muda, Home United, Admiralty FC (NFL), Woodlands Wellington

Group B
Tampines Rovers, Young Lions, Tanjong Pagar United

Group C
Albirex Niigata (S), Geylang International, Hougang United

Group D
Brunei DPMM, Balestier Khalsa, Warriors FC

Admiralty FC qualify for Starhub League Cup

National Football League club Admiralty FC have qualify for the Starhub League Cup after they defeated SRC 3-1 in the final of the qualifiers.

In the semi-final, Admiralty FC beat SCC 2-1 while SRC beat Sporting Westlake 1-0.

For that result, Admiralty FC have become the first ever NFL team to play n the League Cup since it inception in 2007.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Point of View Menu


Others act, FAS talk

After Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) threaten to throw the Under-23 team out of the SEA Games to be staged in Myanmar and a debate started on what Football Association of Singapore (FAS) is doing, FAS have finally revealed they do have Under-23 internationals lined up as well as even a training tour.

But of course, if one looked at the details it is not confirmed as yet for FAS noted they have to be 'firmed up first'.

This may be the reason why SNOC want to throw football team out of the SEA Games as FAS is clearly treating the preparation as a joke if they are even treating it seriously.

Let looked at some of the ASEAN FAs who have already got into the act like even messy and disorganised PSSI (Football Association of Indonesia).
  • Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) announced their friendly games back in March and they are confirmed already unlike FAS ones.
  • Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) team is in Europe for their training tour and have already played their fifth match unlike FAS who claimed they are only planning to and have not indicate any place.
  • For messy and disorganised PSSI, they have approved a budget of US$1.4million so that they can assembled a team unlike FAS who has no team as yet.
  • The funny thing (or not) is even Philippine Football Federation (PFF) who has not send a team to SEA Games for two of the last three editions are preparing better than FAS as they are already looking for players.
The only ASEAN FA in the same shoe as FAS is Football Association of Thailand (FAT) because like our own FAS president, Mr Worawi Makudi focus is clearly elsewhere.

If the TODAY article was what FAS had send to SNOC telling them what FAS is doing (Take note: Any sports seeking SEA Games slot must send a report by June to SNOC on their progress) then do not blame SNOC.

This is the 21th century and in this era, teams are preparing better than ever for it is not like the famous 1950 World Cup match between England and USA where it was noted both team were drinking the night before the match.

Nowadays no teams does that and no matter how much the media claimed that the team is worthy of a gold so they must go, one must note SNOC is not just responsible to football and it has other sports to take into account as well.

Especially when one looked at how other sports are preparing and yet FAS can sit on it buttock and claimed it will lead to a gold is a joke.

One can tell you, other nations media are likely as confident that it is their year and if history is any guide it is the teams who have prepared best that do well.

In World Cup 2006, Italy and France were not favourite and were at best judged to reach the knockout stage yet they went all the way to Final for they had prepared well while big favourite and defending champions Brazil, who had all the stars the media go crazy over, went home in the quarter-final.

It is simple to explain as Brazil treated their training sessions as parties for they invited the public and media to watch them and the Brazilians players then play around to catch media attention instead of training.

As for Italy and France, they went into recluse and prepared for the competition seriously.

So once again do not blame SNOC for if FAS was 'indeed serious' then by now, which is already MAY 2013, they will have a detail plan on what they are doing and not a plan which need to be 'firmed up first'.

Accept the turth, referees

Singapore Press Holding TNP have reported match commissioner Jimmy Cheong had try to control the crowd at Woodlands match against Home United after rookie referee Jansen Foo send off Woodlands star player Khalid Hamdaoui.

This is ridiculous for any person involved in the game from players to coaches to management etc will have been whacked from time to time so why is it referees want to be special.

Also the FAS Referees Committee have been deaf to the fact that in recent years, the refereeing have been noted as terrible.

The only reason clubs have not said as much nowadays is because they have been stranglehold to the point that they are not allowed to criticize in public anymore.

Just a few weeks ago, as written the assistant referee had a terrible game in the DPMM-Balestier game and it affect the outcome yet nothing was spoken about it as local clubs do not dare to say anything anymore as reported almost 2 years back; even if they reported it, the FAS Referees Committee will still send the referee back to officiate the next game.

Thus it was the clubs who reported it that 'suffered' so clubs have to 'pass' the referee every time.

The only guy who is still vocal on the issue have been DPMM coach Vjeran Simunic and most likely it is because he is with a Bruneian club and feel wronged.

FAS Referees Committee only defence to all that criticisms in recent time is the fact they had send Shamsul Maidin to the 2006 World Cup and he officiated in the quarter-final stage.

The saying a swan does not make a summer mean something for it is only one person and if the system was working and standard of local refereeing was indeed that 'great', there would have been more examples of Singapore referees at all major competitions.

Only you guys still believed you guys are the 'best referees' from the Asian region and that only because you stopped others from criticizing.

Vallee: Balestier were not playing football

Tanjong Pagar United coach Patrick Vallee was visibly upset at the final whistle and it was not just because his side lost but also because the Frenchman was irate at how Balestier “were not playing football”.

“One team decided to get rough but it’s okay - this is football," he said.

“We weren't at fault for the loss but we have to move on from this and focus on Harimau Muda [next].”

Regarding a scuffle that took place in the Balestier dugout, Vallee revealed that a member of the Balestier management staff mouthed off at him, which got him riled up.

 The Jaguars boss was disappointed to lose Anthony Aymard to a concussion as well as Aurelien Herisson, who was shown the red card for a challenge on Cunningham in the second half, but remained optimistic.

“Tanjong Pagar are always in a good position despite the loss," he concluded.

Stewart: No apologies for rough game

Tanjong Pagar United was defeated 1-2 by Balestier Khalsa at Toa Payoh as they were unsettled by a  home side that went in hard time and time again.

After the game, there was no smile on the Stewart’s face as he knew that his players’ roughing out on the pitch was no laughing matter.

“We tried to play ugly and I have no apologies for how the boys were," he said.

“They played with their guts and that got us the much needed win."

The Balestier head coach also lauded his players’ bravery as the number one cause for the victory, and heaped praise on defender Paul Cunningham, who was making his season debut as a striker.

“This was nowhere near the performance we showed against Albirex Niigata and I really don’t care how they played,” Stewart added.

“Paul barely passed the fitness test two days ago and it was a tremendous showing by him. As captain, he did well playing in a role that he isn’t used to, while taking shots and almost finding the net.”

Albirex return to second as inconsistent Jaguars falter

If there was a reason why Tampines Rovers coach Nenad Bacina continue to feel the title was their to lose even after their defeat to Tanjong Pagar United, the reason can be found as the team who defeated them will go on to falter themselves just one game later.

On a night when a win will close the lead at the top to one point by the Jaguars, the Queenstown club will go on to fall 1-2 to Balestier Khalsa at Toa Poyah with goals from Ruhaizad Ismail and Qiu Li while Kamel Ramdani reply for the Jaguars.

No doubt the physical approach by the Tigers does not help matter but if one want to be champions they will have to deal with such matters.

It is clear Tanjong Pagar United are not ready to challenge as yet and it may e the case as well for now second-placed Albirex Niigata (S) even as they recorded their second win in a row after defeating Harimau Muda 1-0 thanks to a goal Bruno Castanheira.

The fact is the White Swans are second now thanks to their opening start which saw them win five in a row before going on to record only 2 points from their next 4 games.

The teams below Tampines are just too inconsistent for even Home United who recovered from their disaster start to climb to top 4, after recording a 3-0 over Woodlands Wellington on Monday, have not been able to string any results together.

Lee Kwan Woo and a brace from Sirina Camara got the goals for the Protectors in the win against the Rams.

In one other game, Hougang beat Courts Young Lions 1-0 with a goal from Mamadou Diallo.

Woodlands Wellington
Yazid Yasin (GK), Cho Sung-hwan, Hidhir Hasbiallah (Taufiq Rahmat 63'), Shahril Alias, Atsushi Shimono, Ang Zhiwei, Armanizam Dolah (C) (Ridhwan Osman 77'), Farizal Basri (Fadhil Noh 75'), Chang Jo-yoon, Moon Soon-ho, Khalid Hamdaoui

Home United
Shahril Jantan (GK), Noh Rahman (C), Sirina Camara, Hafiz Rahim, Jordan Webb, Lee Kwan Woo (Sofiyan Abdul Hamid 67'), Masrezwan Masturi, Nor Azli Yusoff, Fukui Masato (Haziq Azman 80'), Indra Sahdan (Firdaus Idros 46'), Song Ui Young


Hougang United
Fadhil Salim (GK),  Lau Meng Meng (C), Thomas Beattie, Jeremy Chiang (Syaqir Sulaiman 57'), Shahir Hamzah, Azhar Sairudin, Fazli Jaffar, Faizal Amir, Nurhilmi Jasni (Sobrie Mazelan 79'), Mamadou Diallo, Liam Shotton (Fairoz Hasan 79')

Courts Young Lions
Syazwan Buhari (GK), Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Afiq Yunos, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Raihan Rahman (C), Anumanthan Kumar, Stanely Ng (Afiq Noor 64'), Fareez Farhan, Farhan Rahmat, Iqbal Hamid Hussain (Nur Ridho 82'), Sherif El-Masri


Balestier Khalsa
Zaiful Nizam (GK), Paul Cunningham (C) (Qiu Li 60'), Jaslee Hatta, Ridwan Jamil, Ruhaizad Ismail (Yusiskandar Yusop 82'), Kim Min-ho (Zulkiffli Hassim 38'), Park Kang-jin, Poh Yi Feng, Obadin Aikhena, Syed Thaha, Jung Hee-bong

Tanjong Pagar United
Aurelien Herisson (GK), Anthony Aymard (Hafiz Nor 27'), Hanafi Salleh, Zahid Ahmad, Asraf Rashid (Shamsudin Hashim 55'), Ahmad Latiff (C), Kamel Ramdani, Sazali Salleh, K Vikraman, Ismael Benahmed (Rizawan Abdullah 82'), Monsef Zerka

Monday, May 6, 2013

Home to set up academy

Home United announced  plans to set up an academy after the Bishan club won the bid to secure a 2.5ha plot of land at  Mattar Road.

The S-League club beat five other parties and will pay the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) a whopping monthly rent of S$31,900.

Their offer was the second-highest submitted to the authorities and almost twice the guiding bid price.

According to the SLA document, the site’s tenure is for “3 years + 3 + 2 or less”. It is next to MacPherson Primary School and adjacent to the Downtown Line’s Mattar MRT Station.

This makes the 1999 and 2003 league champions, who are currently fourth in the S-League, the first local professional club to have a property they can develop freely for their own use.

In a statement released, Home United said the club will develop the site for “its own centralised professional training facility for its S-League, Prime League and Centre of Excellence age-group teams”.

The rented property will not be entirely closed to the public as the club plan to generate income from the futsal pitches they will be installing there.

But the youth football academy — which will be called the HUFC Youth Football Academy (HYFA) — is expected to be the key attraction and HUFC hope it will help nurture budding young talents for a career in professional football, and to guide “youths to be upright, law-abiding and responsible persons”.

The club added that the academy will have an accredited and certified football programme.

“HYFA will design and implement a syllabus where students are professionally coached and follow a structured, coordinated and progressive philosophy, and where academic pursuits will always be of paramount importance,” said the statement.

“It will also be a platform to encourage youths, especially youths-in-need, back to the classroom in order to excel in a sport that is most widely played in Singapore.”

Bacina: We missed Shahdan

Tampines Rovers boss Nenad Bacina was not as upset despite the fact his side suffered back-to-back defeats, following their loss to Selangor in the AFC Cup last time out.

“It is very difficult to play against a team that is very defensive and Tanjong Pagar were good at doing that tonight,” he said.

Despite the defeat, the Croatian felt that his team controlled the game and were more aggressive.

“The goal we conceded was due to a misunderstanding in the defence and this is not a sign of things falling apart," he calmly explained.

“We were missing several key players like Shahdan Sulaiman, Ismadi Mukthar and Firdaus Kasman who would have added more creativity to find the goals."

"He's (Shahdan Sulaiman) the one who brings the creatibity."

Before he left the room, Bacina pointed out that Tampines are still confident of winning the title as they are still at the top of the league, and will be the team for the rest to chase.

Vallee: We achieved one of our objective

Tanjong Pagar United welcomed Tampines Rovers to the Queenstown Stadium and finally recorded their first home win of the season on Sunday night.

A second half strike from Kamel Ramdani saw Patrick Vallee’s side beat the Stags 1-0 in a game of tactical defending.

The Frenchman, with a trademark smile smeared across his face, was a happy man at the post-match press conference.

“Tonight one team played football," he declared.

“Tampines Rovers played well but Tanjong Pagar deserved to win because my players did well to stick with plan.”

The Jaguars were uncharacteristically more defensive against the Stags and Vallee openly admitted that it was his strategy going into the game.

“We achieved one of our objectives this season and it was to obtain at least 20 points from the first 10 games,” he added.

“It was a very good game for the S.League and the result could have gone either way.

“I am very happy with the conclusion but there is no time to celebrate as we have a tough game against Balestier Khalsa this Wednesday."

Stags lose for the first time

Tanjong Pagar United beat Tampines Rovers 1-0 to hand the champions their first defeat in the league this season.

With the win, the Jaguars go up to second and are now 4 points behind the champions but Tampines still hold a game in hand.

Frenchman Kamel Ramdani got the winner and it was double happiness for him as his wife also gave birth to his second child on the same night.

In other matches, Woodlands Wellington beat Balestier Khalsa 3-1, Geylang beat Courts Young Lions 1-0 and Warriors defeated DPPM Brunei 2-0.

The Rams got their win thanks to goals from Moon Soon-ho, who scored a brace, and Chang Jo-yoon with the Tigers goal also coming from a Rams source as it as an own goal.

The Eagles winner came from Wahyudi Wahid.

As for the Warriors goals, they came from birthday boy Shimpei Sakurada and Mislav Karoglan. 

Woodlands Wellington
Yazid Yasin (GK), Cho Sung-hwan (Hidhir Hasbiallah 45'), Shahril Alias, Rosman Sulaiman, Ang Zhiwei, Armanizam Dolah (C), Atsushi Shimono, Farizal Basri (Fadhil Noh 70'), Chang Jo-yoon, Moon Soon-ho, Khalid Hamdaoui (Ridhwan Osman 90')

Balestier Khalsa
Zaiful Nizam (GK), Yusiskandar Yusop (Poh Yi Feng 75'), Obadin Aikhena, Jaslee Hatta (C), Syed Thaha, Tengku Mushadad, Kim Min-ho, Park Kang-jin, Hamqaamal Shah (Jung Hee-bong 33'), Zulkiffli Hassim (Ruhaizad Ismail 56'), Qiu Li


Courts Young Lions
Syazwan Buhari (GK), Afiq Noor, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Afiq Yunos (C), Farhan Rahmat, M. Anumanthan, Raihan Rahman, Shamil Sharif (Stanely Ng 78'), Sahil Suhaimi, Faiz Salleh (Fareez Farhan 55'), Sherif El-Masri (Iqbal Hussain 55').

Geylang International
Takuma Ito (GK), Khairulnizam Jumahat, Khayrulhayat Jumat, Norihiro Kawakami, Delwinder Singh, Yasir Hanapi, Fabian Kwok, Taufiq Ghani (Basil Teo 78'), Jalal (Nurhazwan Norasikin 61'), Jozef Kaplan (C), Wahyudi Wahid (Andrew Tan 87')


Warriors FC
Hassan Sunny (GK), Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (Matthew Abraham 92'), Abdil Qaiyyim, Marin Vidosevic, Daniel Bennett (C), Shimpei Sakurada, Ruzaini Zainal, Shukor Zailan, Prakash Manikam (Hafsyar Farkhan 82'), Shi Jiayi, Mislav Karoglan (Sufian Anuar 86')


Tanjong Pagar United
Aurelien Herisson (GK), Anthony Aymard, Hanafi Salleh, Walid Lounis DF (C), Zahid Ahmad, Ahmad Latiff, Kamel Ramdani, Hafiz Nor (K Vikraman 86'), Sazali Salleh, Ismael Benahmed, Monsef Zerka

Tampines Rovers
Sasa Dreven (GK), Jufri Taha, Shaiful Esah, Seiji Kaneko, Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Imran Sahib, Ahmed Fahmie, Aleksandar Duric, Sead Hadzibulic, Khairul Amri (Jamil Ali 72'), Martin Wagner 

Wilkinson hit out at Lee

Former Home United player John Wilkinson have hit out at Paul Lee in an interview with SPH TNP as he claimed he want to come clean on the issue that saw him leave Home.

The former international noted back in July 20, 2012, he was asked to leave a training session, the day after he allegedly make comments about Paul Lee tactics.

Later he was intrusted via text messages by a club staff not to return to training and to stay home.

The club official claimed they wanted to investigate the matter first and it was only two months latter that he was told to return back to training.

The 31-year-old was 'surprised' he was to be fined S$400 for not training with the Prime League team during that period.

Despite having the text message as evidence to prove he was not told to do so, the midfielder pay the fine as he wanted the matter to end.

He said: "There have been several false comments made about me..... and I'm disappointed that Home allowed me to be abused that way by a person in authority."

Wilkinson also rubbished the notion his clash with Lee was because of culture.

He said: "This is not the first Asian coach I've worked with and I haven't had issues with those I worked with in the past."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Rams Star attract interest

Axrosstheline has reported Woodlands Wellington Moroccan playmaker Khalid Hamdaoui has attracted interest from Thai side Bangkok Glass.

It is no surprise as the 32-year-old is the reason why Woodlands Wellington is in the top half of the table and in sight of the top 6 playoff after 22 games.

He has impressed many not only with his control of the ball but also abilities to create chances for others with a pass.

At the same time, he can also score a goal or two when needed.

Such a player is always sourced after by everybody.

Precious linked with Jaguars and Rams

Over the past few weeks, former international Precious Emuejeraye has been seem training at the Queenstown stadium leading to speculation the defender is returning to the S-league.

The 30-year-old has been without a club since he was sacked by Persiba Balikpapan and has been unable to find a new employer.

It may have to do with the rumors he may have been injured in his time with Persiba and yet still had to play on in every match and that was the 'real reason' he was sacked as he could not recovered in time for action in the Indonesian League.

But the Singaporean will have more than enough time to recover as the transfer window do not end until end of June if Tanjong Pagar United do want to sign him.

At the same time, it is believed Woodlands Wellington is also attracted to the former Singapore international as they seek to increase their squad strength.

AFC Cup end on a whimper as Stags 'achieved' unwanted history

Singapore 2013 AFC Cup campaign has been nothing short of disaster and it ended that way as both Tampines Rovers and Warriors FC once again lost in Asia.

The Stags lost 2-3 to Selangor at the Jalan Besar Stadium while Warriors FC was crushed 0-5 by Kitchee in Hong Kong.

An own goal plus what may be the final Asian goal from Alesandar Duric saw the Stags pull level after going 2 goals down but it was not enough yet again as they now become the second team from S-league history to go through an entire group phrase of the AFC Cup without a single win.

Like their Eastern rival Geylang International, who did it in 2010, this is hardly anything to be proud of and both teams have the same record of 2 draws and 4 defeats from their 6 games.

Tampines Rovers is also the first team to have failed to reach the knockout stage of the AFC Cup twice and in a row as well.

Along with that, Tampines also become the first team to lose all their home games in the AFC Cup.

What unwanted history for the Champions.

Tampines Rovers
Sasa Dreven (GK) (Ridhuan Barudin), Jufri Taha, Mustafic Fahrudin (C), Ahmed Fahmie (Khairul Amri)Aleksandar Duric, Sead Hadzibulic, Imran Sahib (Shannon Stephen), Anaz Hadee, Saiful Esah, Firdaus Kasman, Jamil Ali


Warriors FC
Hassan Sunny (GK), Syaiful Iskandar  (Prakash Manikam), Zulfadli Abidin, Abdil Qaiyyim, Sufian Anuar (Mathew Abraham), Marin Vidosevic, Erwan Gunawan, Ruzaini Zainal, Shukor Zailan (Mislav Karoglan), Daniel Bennett (C), Shi Jia Yi

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bacina satisfied with another win in packed schedule

Tampines Rovers coach Nenad Bacina was happy his side maintained their unbeaten run in the league despite fixture congestion.

Table-topping Tampines Rovers could have really put Woodlands Wellington to the sword at Clementi Stadium on Saturday night, but coach Nenad Bacina was in the mood to forgive his players for their wayward finishing after they had easily accounted for the Rams in a 3-1 win.

“I was a little disappointed that we conceded a goal late and didn’t keep a clean sheet,” he said.

“But my players are professionals and not robots and they have been coming to terms with a gruelling schedule of matches.

“They worked hard for the entire game on a heavy pitch, right from the opening seconds and we made sure we didn’t allow Woodlands the space they wanted to create opportunities.

“We managed to close them down very effectively and I wanted us to do that so that the Rams couldn’t threaten us at all.

The Croatian also admitted that the tight fixture schedule was taking its toll on his side, as was seen when defender Seiji Kaneko took to the field wearing a head bandage and played with understandable caution.

“Preparing for another game every two days is not easy,” he pointed out.

“We don’t have time to train properly, only [enough time] to do recovery work.

“Tonight we had to send on Seiji for [the injured] Anaz Hadee, though Seiji probably should not be playing yet as he still has the cut above his eye that has not healed.”

No stopping Tampines

There is no stopping Tampines as the champions romped to another victory as they defeated Woodlands Wellington 3-1 at Clementi Stadium.

With this win, the Champions have opened up a 5-point gap at the top and amazingly, they still hold a game in hand over their rivals.

It is now 8 wins from 9 games and it is should be said that only they can lose the title now and not if they will win the title.

Imran Sahib, Sead Hadzibulic and Aleksandar Duric got the goals for the champions while Farouq Farkhan reply for the Rams on his debut after coming off the bench.

Rams defender Shariff Abdul Samat was also given a straight red in the game after being adjudged to have caught Khairul Amri in the face with an elbow.

In other games, Hougang started their revival under interim coach Johana Johari as they beat both Hairmau Muda and Home United.

They defeated the Malaysians 3-1 at Jalan Besar and then back in Hougang 3 days later, they beat Home United 1-0.

Liam Shotton and a brace from Nurhilmi Jasni got them off the road against the Malaysians with Muda sole goal coming from Ridzuan Abdunloh.

In their game against Home United, Thomas Beattie got their winner.

Hairmau Muda will recover 5 days later to beat DPMM Brunei 2-1 in Pasir Gudang Corporation Stadium.

Faizat Ghazli and Akhir Bahari got the goals for the Malaysians while Tales dos Santos scored for the Bruneians.

Hougang United
Fadhil Salim (GK), Faizal Amir (Jeremy Chiang 80'), Hasree Zais, Syaqir Sulaiman, Lau Meng Meng (C), Nurhilmi Jasni, Thomas Beattie, Azhar Sairudin (Shahir Hamzah 76'), Fazli Jaffar (Fairoz Hasan 82'), Mamadou Diallo, Liam Shotton


Tampines Rovers
Sasa Dreven (GK), Jufri Taha, Anaz Hadee (Seiji Kaneko 51'), Shaiful Esah, Mustafic Fahrudin (C), Shahdan Sulaiman, Alesandar Duric, Imran Sahib (Ahmed Fahmie 81'), Firdaus Kasman, Sead Hadzibulic (Jamil Ali 69'), Khairul Amri

Woodlands Wellington
Yazid Yasin (GK), Sunghwan Cho, Khalid Hamdaoui, Soon Ho Moon, Shariff Samat, Rosman Sulaiman, Hidhir Hasbiallah (Goh Swee Swee 67'), Atsushi Shimono, Armanizam Dolah (C) (Farizal Basri 74'), Ang Zhiwei, Chang Jo Yoon (Farouq Farkhan 78')


Hougang United
Fadhil Salim (GK), Faizal Amir, Hasree Zais, Syaqir Sulaiman, Lau Meng Meng (C), Nurhilmi Jasni (Jeremy Chiang 77'), Thomas Beattie, Azhar Sairudin, Fazli Jaffar (Basit Hamid 72'), Mamadou Diallo (Fairoz Hasan 87'), Liam Shotton

Home United
Shahril Jantan (GK), Juma'at Jantan (Azli Yusoff 35'), Noh Rahman (C), Hafiz Rahim, Jordan Webb, Firdaus Idros (Masato Fukui 60'), Lee Kwan Woo (Aliff Shafaein 82'), Masrezwan Masturi, Sirina Camara, Indra Sahdan Daud, Song Ui Young