Match Of The Week

Football: No Home comforts for Stags

Fazrul Nawaz scoring the game's opening goal, but it was not enough to prevent Tampines from falling to Home United.
Fazrul Nawaz scoring the game's opening goal, but it was not enough to prevent Tampines from falling to Home United.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Weary Tampines fall 1-2 to Protectors, fail to make up ground on S-League leaders Albirex

S-LEAGUE

Tampines Rovers 1
Home United 2

Having to play twice with only a two-day break has proved a task too difficult to surmount for S-League title favourites Tampines Rovers.

After beating Selangor 1-0 in their Asian Football Confederation Cup tie at the National Stadium on Tuesday, the Stags dragged their tired bodies to face Home United at the Jalan Besar Stadium last night - and duly lost 1-2.

Said coach V. Sundramoorthy after the match: "In two days, life can change. In the last 15-20 minutes, fatigue was a concern. I am concerned about playing many games in short periods."

Tampines' defeat will be good news to league leaders Albirex Niigata, as they now have a five-point lead over the second-placed Stags.

Home United, too, will be happy with the win, as they jumped from sixth to third, leapfrogging Hougang United, defending champions Brunei DPMM and Geylang International.

Yet it was Tampines who opening the scoring last night in the 22nd minute, as national striker Fazrul Nawaz lobbed onrushing Home custodian Hyrulnizam Juma'at for his second goal of the season.

STRATEGIC APPROACH

I can't have the luxury of playing Pennant every three days. Against Selangor, he played 80 minutes but I needed him to add impact in the second half.

 V. SUNDRAMOORTHY, Stags coach, on why Pennant started on the bench.

However, their lead lasted for only two minutes, as Home's Azhar Sairudin headed in captain Juma'at Jantan's cross to make it level as both teams headed into half-time.

Tampines finally introduced star signing Jermaine Pennant in the second half, but the former Arsenal and Liverpool winger could not save his team.

Of the decision to keep Pennant on the bench until the second half, Sundram explained: "I can't have the luxury of playing Pennant every three days.

"Against Selangor he played 80 minutes but I needed him to add impact in the second half."

However, it was Home who scored the winning goal in the 70th minute, when Song Ui Young's through ball was met by Ken Ilso, who curled it past Tampines goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud for his seventh goal of the season.

The Stags next travel to Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Tuesday to take on struggling Warriors FC, while Home play Brunei DPMM on Thursday at Bishan Stadium.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2016, with the headline 'No home comforts for stags'. Print Edition | Subscribe