'Everything to play for' in cup semi-final

Warriors forward Gabriel Quak (left) is hopeful his team can stage a comeback against Brunei DPMM in their Cup semi-final.
Warriors forward Gabriel Quak (left) is hopeful his team can stage a comeback against Brunei DPMM in their Cup semi-final.PHOTO: SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE

Warriors hope to overturn SPL champions Brunei DPMM's one-goal lead in second leg

After a dismal Singapore Premier League campaign which saw them finish seventh out of nine teams, Warriors FC are seeking redemption in the Komoco Motors Singapore Cup.

Brunei DPMM hold a slender advantage over Warriors after a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the semi-finals thanks to Ali Rahman's goal in their first encounter last Saturday.

But Warriors forward Gabriel Quak, who missed a penalty in the game, is confident that the team can turn things around.

The 28-year-old said: "We are trailing, but at 1-0 down, anything can happen.

"There is still everything to play for in the second leg. We had a positive, attacking performance in the last game, but we were just unlucky that we didn't find the net.

"I hope that we carry on from where we left off. I believe that even if we find the first goal, we will still push on. We'll definitely want to finish it."

Making it to the semi-finals is a silver lining for a team who have endured a rough season - not just on the pitch.

Off it, they struggled to pay their staff on time on several occasions over the past year.

Quak said: "All the things surrounding Warriors this season haven't been very pleasant, but making it to the semis is good motivation for us."

The players have tried not to let these issues affect them by focusing on giving their best.

"Every household has its problems, but we just want to play when we get on the field," he said.

"Football is something we love, it's our passion. We just want to play so when we get on the field, our objective is to get our job done in the 90 minutes."

Should Warriors, who will be without the suspended Poh Yi Feng, turn the tie around, they will play either Hougang United or Tampines Rovers, making it the first all-local final since 2014.

Quak believes such a fixture could bode well for the local football scene, saying: "Although DPMM won the title, this season has really been much closer as compared to the previous few seasons when Albirex won everything.

"Credit to all the teams in the league, everyone gave a good show.

"It could be the start of a new era, hopefully it can garner more interest from the public."

While DPMM may have the advantage going into the second leg of the semi-finals, coach Adrian Pennock insisted his side will not sit back when they face Warriors at Jurong East Stadium tonight.

EYE ON THE BALL

Every household has its problems, but we just want to play when we get on the field.

GABRIEL QUAK, Warriors forward, prefers his team to let their feet do the talking.

After capturing the Singapore Premier League title last month, the Bruneian side also have their sights set on a league and Cup double, but he expects a tough game.

DPMM will be without Awangku Fakharazzi, who did not travel because of a family emergency, and Hanif Hamir due to suspension.

About 10 players in the team have also caught the flu bug and may not be at their best today, but Pennock is not panicking.

He said: "We'd love to do the double, but we've still got to beat Warriors in the second leg of the semis.

"It'll be a tough game; they've got some very good players.

"But we will not be defending, I don't think you can go into the game for a draw. We are going to Warriors for the win."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2019, with the headline ''Everything to play for' in cup semi-final'. Print Edition | Subscribe