Football: Tampines draw 1-1 but remain top of AFC Cup Group E

Tampines Rovers remained at the top of Group E on seven points despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Ceres La Salle in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday night.

Watched by 2,241 fans, Ceres had the first opportunity in the 12th minute when midfielder Manuel Ott went on a run through the heart of the Tampines defence, only to shoot tamely into the arms of goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud.

It was then Tampines' turn to threaten and Pennant forced Ceres goalkeeper Michael Casas into a diving save on 28 minutes with a free kick from 27 metres out.

Ceres had the best chance of the first half in the 44th minute when Bienvenido Marra On tricked his way past the Tampines defence and shot narrowly wide of Izwan's near post.

The second half started off with near misses for both teams. First, Maraa On cut in from the left and shot just wide of Izwan's right post in the 48th minute.

And four minutes later, Mehmet nearly put away Hafiz Abu Suhad's cross but was denied by the crowd of Ceres' defenders.

Tampines finally broke the deadlock in the 69th minute when Hafiz Abu Sujad bundled the ball home from a Jordan Webb cross.

But Ceres were not content to leave empty-handed and they duly equalized in the 88th minute when Spanish forward Adrian Gallardo stabbed home from close range off a nod-down by Patrick Reichelt.

The Stags will next travel to Bacolod to play Ceres in their next AFC Cup game on Apr 12.

Singapore's other AFC Cup representative Balestier Khalsa lost to Filipino outfit Kaya FC 0-1 in Group F.