Match Of The Week

Hungry Stags maul Protectors

Tampines Rovers' Jordan Webb celebrating with Zehrudin Mehmedovic after scoring their fifth goal against Home United from the spot. Home, who beat Albirex Niigata in the Community Shield on penalties, have started the season poorly. They have a draw
Tampines Rovers' Jordan Webb celebrating with Zehrudin Mehmedovic after scoring their fifth goal against Home United from the spot. Home, who beat Albirex Niigata in the Community Shield on penalties, have started the season poorly. They have a draw and a loss in Asian competition while two consecutive defeats have left them bottom of the Singapore Premier League.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

Tampines net five goals for second straight match but coach Lee plays down title talk

Two games, two wins, 10 goals scored.

The 2019 Singapore Premier League season may only be in its second round this week, but Tampines Rovers are proving to be worthy contenders for their first domestic league title since 2013.

This, after the Stags thrashed Home United 5-1 last night at Our Tampines Hub, just five days after walloping Hougang United by the same score in their first match of the season.

In just two games, Tampines have now scored almost a quarter of the 43 goals they netted over 24 games last season.

Tampines coach Gavin Lee said: "I think we did well; two wins out of two games is a good start, but we have to be cautious now because every team that play us will be coming for us.

"I think that the result really flattered us, but the message today was simple: we had to work hard, we had to match them for their desire and determination.

  • SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE

    Tampines Rovers 5

    Home United 1

"But I think towards the end of the game, we should've controlled the game a lot better.

"We gave away too much and the boys know that."

Both sides attacked from the get-go, with the home side missing an opportunity to take the lead early when Taufik Suparno missed from the penalty spot in the 14th minute.

As in the Hougang match, goals by Irwan Shah and Jordan Webb bookended the eastern giants' scoring on home ground last night, with Yasir Hanapi, Taufik and captain Shahdan Sulaiman adding their names to the score sheet.

Adam Swandi gave the Protectors a consolation goal in the 57th minute to prevent a total whitewash. Despite the loss, Home coach Saswadimata Dasuki was still proud of his team for putting up a good fight.

He said: "Before the penalty, I thought the boys were controlling (Tampines) well by minimising their space and time.

"After the second goal, I thought that we could still get back into the game, but a mistake by my defender caused us to be 3-0 down and there was a mountain for us to climb against a very good team.

"I hope the boys don't give up because it's just two games. I hope they keep on going."

Despite sweeping aside Hougang and Home who were touted as title contenders, Lee was not keen to engage in early title talk.

He said: "There are 22 more games to go and anything can happen. It's a long season and we're not thinking about the end of the season. We're just taking one game at a time. Consistency is our target."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2019, with the headline 'Hungry Stags maul Protectors'. Print Edition | Subscribe