Noh Alam Shah’s men prove too strong for visiting Stags at the Jurong East Stadium
Tanjong Pagar United's Nishiguchi celebrates his goal against Tampines Rovers. PHOTO: AIA SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE
Singapore, 28 May 2022 - Following Friday night’s 8-2 scoreline at the Jurong East Stadium, fans hoped for a similar display as Tanjong Pagar United Football Club took on Tampines Rovers Football Club.
The crowd’s wait for a goal didn’t take too long as 5 minutes into the game, Akram Azmans’s pressure on Taufiq Suparno on the edge of the Stag’s penalty box saw the ball find its way to Reo Nishiguichi, who attempted a first-time shot that found its way inside Syazwan Buhari’s left side post.
Stags spurred into life
That goal spurred the Stags back to life as they went on the offensive with Ryan Sanizal delivering a dangerous cross into the box, which found the head of Boris Kopitovic, who placed it wide. Kyoga Nakamura had his long-range effort stinging the gloves of Rohaizad, who recently got called up to the national team squad ahead of this match.
It was a case of Tanjong Pagar soaking up the pressure from the Stags whilst counter-attacking when they had possession. That tactic did seem to work, as, after 20 minutes, Blake Ricciuto fed an overhead ball to Reo Nishiguici, who took it down and shaped a low driven cross that found the feet of an oncoming Rusyaidi Salime’s right foot, who guided his shot to the far left corning of the net making it 2-0.
But that 2 goal lead only lasted a minute when Firdaus Kasman found himself at the right place at the right time when he latched onto a loose ball after a scramble from a Zehrudin Mehmedovic’s corner in the Jaguar’s penalty box and fired his shot into the net to the delight of the travelling supporters. They felt a comeback was on the cards.
Frustration written all over the faces of Tampines Rovers players. PHOTO: AIA SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE
However, the man of the match, Reo Nishiguichi, wasn’t having it as 11 minutes later, the Tanjong Pagar’s number 9 found the ball at his feet after some catastrophic defending from the away team. The Japanese striker dropped his shoulder and fired a low driven shot past a helpless Buhari's right-hand side to make it 3-1.
Once again, though, the boys from the East showed no signs of giving up as Mehmedovic made hit 3-2 with a carbon copy goal as the one scored earlier by Rushaiidi. The Serbian midfielder was on the receiving end of a well-driven cross from Irfan Najeeb. The Stag’s playmaker made no mistake with a side-foot finish, and we are back to 3-2, Game On!
Or is it? In the 38th minute, Sugic was fouled in the middle of the pitch. After a long wait of orchestrating his free-kick, Raihan Rahman sent in a floated ball that found the head of Riccuito, whose cushioned header into the danger area found an unexpected Shodai Nishikawa, who leapt between two Stags defenders to divert the ball into the back of the net. 4-2 to the boys in red and white.
Tanjong Pagar United's Rusyaidi Salime slides to score his team's second goal of the match against Tampines Rovers. PHOTO: AIA SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE
With this much action in the first half, the fans felt like they would be treated to another goal-fest. Sadly that was not the case.
Both teams came out at halftime, with the Stags doing everything they could to get themselves on the scoresheet. At the same time, the rock steady defence of the Jaguars in the form of Faritz Abdul Hameed, Daniel Bennett and Raihan Rahman showed a masterclass in keeping their team’s lead safe.
Even with the likes of Christopher Van Huizen and Marc Ryan Tan, who came on to insert some pace into the Stag’s attack and with the Stag’s fans cheering them on, nothing was going right for the Stags.
Tampines Rovers hitman Kopitovic had to endure a frustrating afternoon at the office. PHOTO: AIA SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE
Quiet Day for Kopitovic
Boris Kopitovic was having a very quiet day in the office with limited supply in the middle, and it begs to wonder how much the Stags miss their influential captain Yasir Hanapi who could only watch the match from the stands. The Stags had their opportunities, with Kopitovic seeing his header saved by Zharfan Rohaizad in the 75th minute and Mehmedovic watching his shot blazed over the bar a minute later.
The game's final chance went to the Jaguars when substitute Fathullah Rahmat saw his effort hit the post in the 90th minute.
With this win, third place Tanjong Pagar creates a four point gap from chasing Tampines Rovers, who have a game in hand.
In the other fixture, Hougang United Football Club secured a 3-1 victory against Balestier Khalsa with Kaishu Yamasaki, Hafiz Abu Sugar and Kristijian Krajček for the Cheetahs. At the same time, Shuhei Hoshino scored for the Tigers.
AIA Singapore Premier League 2022
Other Match Week 11 Results
Albirex Niigata 8-2 Geylang International Sat, 27 May 2022, Jurong East Stadium
Hougang United 3-1 Balestier Khalsa Sat, 28 May 2022, Hougang Stadium