Football: Tampines Rovers sneak past Yangon United 4-3 to top AFC Cup Group F

Tampines Rovers’ Khairul Amri (centre) tries to kick the ball past Yangon United players in the AFC Cup match at Jalan Besar Stadium on May 1, 2019.
Tampines Rovers’ Khairul Amri (centre) tries to kick the ball past Yangon United players in the AFC Cup match at Jalan Besar Stadium on May 1, 2019.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - Tampines Rovers needed a three-goal salvo in the dying minutes in their last AFC Cup Group F match against Cambodia's Nagaworld FC to secure a 4-2 victory.

On Wednesday night (May 1), the Singapore Premier League side endured another "crazy" AFC Cup game as they lost the lead twice but still ended up beating Yangon United 4-3 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Stags striker Khairul Amri missed a host of chances but went home with the match ball after notching a hat-trick in the second, 43rd and 77th minute.

But even his hat-trick was not enough to seal the win as Yangon capitalised on sloppy defending to come back from 2-0 and 3-2 down in an end-to-end second half with goals from Soe Min Naing (58th), Maung Maung Lwin (71st) and Kyaw Zin Oo (85th).

The visitors, clearly fired up by a sizeable Myanmarese contingent among the 1,827 fans, could have even snuck ahead in the 87th minute, but Tampines goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari did well to deny Kosuke Yamazaki.

That allowed Tampines full-back Irwan Shah to steal the show and three points in the 91st minute as he latched onto Madhu Mohana's flick-on to lash past Wai Lin Aung for his fourth goal of the season.

With four wins and a draw, Tampines lead Group F with 13 points and need a draw at Ha Noi on May 15 to be sure of making the Asean Zonal semi-finals.

They may also qualify as the best runners-up from the three Asean groups, but Tampines coach Kadir Yahaya wants his team to improve on their defending if they are to go far in the competition.

He said: "Like the last game against Nagaworld, after we scored the first goal, we dropped a gear.

"Maybe that was due to confidence, but we kept trying and had chances to kill off the game which we didn't make full use of.

"We entertained the fans but, from a coach's perspective, we made individual errors that we need to correct in order to go further.

"We have been conceding in the last five to 10 minutes, which is quite worrying. If we played a stronger team today, they would have killed us."

Amri also felt the need to improve at the other end, saying added: "It was a crazy game. i missed a lot of chances and let my team down and they had to fight until the final whistle.

"I'm happy to contribute three goals, but it was almost not enough and I should have scored four or five. We will need to be sharper in the upcoming games."