SINGAPORE - Tampines Rovers kept up the pressure on leaders Albirex Niigata with a 5-2 victory over Balestier Khalsa in their Singapore Premier League clash at Toa Payoh Stadium on Saturday (June 30).
Irfan Najeeb put the Stags ahead after just nine minutes with a header, but the 18-year-old defender miscued his lines in his own penalty box 10 minutes later when he conceded a penalty by bringing down Tigers' forward Hazzuwan Halim, who converted the resultant spot kick.
Tampines regained their lead in the 26th minute when Khairul Amri was at the right place at the right time to sweep home the rebound, after Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam had saved Jordan Webb's low shot.
Amri grabbed his second of the evening in the 70th minute with a thumping header off Yasir Hanapi's free kick.
But Tampines were made to sweat in the closing stages of the game, after Balestier forward Akbar Shah sidestepped veteran defender Daniel Bennett and fired low to make it 3-2 in the 77th minute.
The Stags, however, never looked too troubled by their opponents, shorn of their two import forwards Keegan Linderboom and Vedran Mesec through injury, as Amri completed his hat-trick in the 90th minute with an easy finish.
Jordan Webb added some gloss to the scoreline with a low finish in injury time.
With the result, Tampines remain second on the table, 11 points behind Albirex but with a game in hand. Albirex have won all 13 of their SPL games this season.