SINGAPORE - S-League title favourites Tampines Rovers secured a hard fought 4-2 win over 10-man Warriors FC at the Jurong West Stadium on a wet Saturday night.
The win was just what the Stags needed, coming off a 2-3 away defeat to Bangaldeshi side Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi in the Asian Football Confederation Cup on Tuesday.
It was, however, anything but smooth sailing for the home side, who had to claw back from a one-goal deficit at half-time.
Striker Billy Mehmet gave Tampines the lead from winger Christopher van Huizen's cross in the 38th minute, but quick fire goals from Hafiz Nor (42nd minute) and Ridhuan Muhammad (45th minute) gave Warriors a 2-1 lead going into the lead.
Despite the promising first-half, it all went downhill for the Warriors in the 50th minute, when goalkeeper Yazid Yasin was sent off for bringing down Tampines' striker Fazrul Nawaz in the penalty box.
Former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant, who came off the bench at half-time, dispatched the spot kick by sending substitute goalkeeper Zainol Gulam the wrong way.
The visitors did well to contain the subsequent barrage of crosses and set piece deliveries, but another defensive lapse allowed Hafiz Sujad to rifle the ball past Zainol in the 75th minute, giving Tampines the lead once more.
Hafiz, who was named Man of the Match, then scored his second goal of the game 12 minutes later with a deflected long-range effort, putting the game to bed.
Tampines now trail league leaders by just three points, with a game in hand. They will play third-placed Hougang United on Wednesday, while Warriors, who are now winless in four games, will play defending champions Brunei DPMM on Thursday.