For The Record...
"In an interview with Yahoo! Singapore, Zainudin (Nordin, FAS President) reiterated that the S-league will not become a "poorer cousin" once the LionsXII start their Malaysia Cup campaign."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Matchpix" - April - July 2014 (sorry for the delay...)

(P.S: If you access this site via "come.to/matchpix", please click the "Facebook" icon after you click "HERE" when you want to view the album as that will redirect you to the album, thank you)

Long before you think I am not longer taking shots from the pitchside as active as I used to, I managed to compile a few along the way sporadically (After all, it was quite an investment I had for those gears).

  • AFC Cup - Home Utd 2-1 Churchill Brothers 2/4/14

Home United was one of the two sides played in the AFC Cup tournament few months ago and didn't make it to the next phrase like they last did in 2012.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES


  • Touring of the new National Stadium 21/5/14

Glad it is ready by now that when I was there to see the pitch surface of the new stadium, I did have my doubts with all those rumbles and constructions still ongoing around the arena.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE SHOTS

  • S.League - Hougang Utd 3-1 Home Utd 13/6/2014

Somehow I feel that the blue of the standing opposite the grand stand is such a bane when taking shots, as it make some of the pictures looked grainy.

At the meantime, the 3-1 win by Cheetahs over the Protectors had altered the landscape of the S.League title race and placed Amin Nasir's men among one of the contenders.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • Singapore Cup QF - Tampines Rover 4-2 Tanjong Pagar Utd 27/6/2014

Still need a bit of polishing as I seems to struggle to control the quality of my shots. Anyway, the Stags took a two goal advantage after this win that should place them on the pole position, but the Jaguars are banking on home advantage to turn the tide at Stirling Road in days later.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • League Cup 2014 - Balestier Khalsa 0-3 Hougang Utd 8/7/2014

The sign of that confidence shown by the visitors at the Toa Payoh Stadium last evening was in evidence for the more dynamic style of football they displayed against their hosts who were struggling for large part of the game, especially in providing the much-needed ammunition to their Croatian striker Goran Ljubojevic who was left isolated in the attacking third.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • League Cup - Brunei DPMM 2-2 Balestier Khalsa 11/7/2014

True to what Tigers coach Marko Kraljevic said after their earlier 3-0 loss to Hougang that fresh legs would be brought for this live televised showdown, the evening saw the likes of Prime Leaguers Alando Nicholas and Muhaymin Salim in starting positions.

It was a game that both sides started cautiously by keeping things tight at the back, knowing a chink in the armour would alter the outcome, even though it was the Bruneians dominated much of the ball play with Balestier did decently well to keep things at the check.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • League Cup - Home Utd 2-0 SRC 14/7/2014

There's nothing to be ashamed about for Singapore Recreation Club for kept emphasizing their "amateur" status when they put up a credible performance despite losing 2-0 to Home United Football Club at Bishan.

As their team manager agreed that having players with S.League experience did help them in this fixture against the Protectors.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

  • League Cup Final - Tanjong Pagar Utd 0-2 Brunei DPMM 25/7/2014

The mid-year spectacle had proven to a resuscitation of form for the Queenstown-based side of having a chance to live up to their full potential that was hindered at the start of the year due to injuries of several key players.

Thumping victories in the group stages over Albirex Niigata (Singapore) and Police SA had drawn Tanjong Pagar United F.C. (Official) to face powerhouses Warriors FC in the quarterfinals and a hard fought victory against Hougang United in the semis before clinching the berth to their second successive Cup final.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

[Starhub League Cup] Wrong Trophy, Faulty Goalposts and Sport Science ...

To sum up this year's Starhub League Cup is nothing less than the number of weird occurrences that took place before and during the proceedings.

Started off from the line was the relevant body that oversee this mid-year spectacle placed a full-page print advertisement on The New Paper to drum the awareness.

The print advert on TNP on 6th July
Nothing wrong for that until a friend of mine texted me to raise a few issues and for my concern was the League Cup trophy, itself, wasn't featured beside the World Cup trophy on the page but the S.League title trophy.

Rounding up the embarrassment was enticing the fans to turn up at any stadium "near" their home for some League Cup actions, before heading off to the community clubs to watch the action in Brazil, whose broadcast rights were held by another provider, a rival to Starhub.

It wasn't that long before incidents on the field hogged the limelight.

The match scheduled between Tampines Rovers and Warriors was abandoned after faulty goal posts were discovered prior to the match during inspection with questions raised who should be responsible for that?

How I was informed about the "faulty goalposts"
Eventually, the rescheduled match saw the Warriors defeated the Stags and knocked the reigning league champions out of contention (Tampines lost to Geylang International in an earlier match), but the story did not end there for Alex Weaver's men.

Having a place assured in the quarter-final phrase following the win over Tampines, the Englishman caused a stir by fielding a team made up of reserves and Prime League players that lost 4-0 to Geylang at Choa Chu Kang.

Questions were raised if Weaver had breached the rules for fielding an "under strength" team when it is required to play to full strength at any S.League game, in which the League Cup matches are considered as well.

One of the memes that circulated on net after Warriors' loss 
Such a magnitude of the controversy had the former Hougang United coach came up with a statement to defend his actions and added that he "can understand why some people without an understanding of sports science have made certain comments because that's what it looks like".

Unfortunately, the move did not yield any dividend when a strike from Firdaus Idros in the extra time of the quarter-final match saw the most successful club in the league history being knocked out of the only tournament they yet to win since the league's inception.

KGS was empty or close from access?
Then came a blog post that surfaced just two days before the Cup final between Brunei DPMM and Tanjong Pagar United with the questions prompted at the organizers' commitments towards the whole tournament that generated quite a buzz online.

But nothing was more unusual that no one from the title sponsors turned up at the podium to give away the trophy, which was presented by FAS adviser, Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee with S.League CEO Lim Chin in attendance.

Mr Lim (left) and AP Ho graced the final
Anyway, it had been an event full of surprises and jaw-dropping moments that little wondering if this was worth an effort to host this tournament after all?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

[Starhub League Cup] Jaguars hit the kerb at the Final hurdle

Coach Vallee led Jaguars to two Cup Finals
Two defensive errors that took place before the interval and shortly after the break proved fatal for Tanjong Pagar United that eventually saw them went down 2-0 in the hands of Brunei DPMM, the current league leaders in the Starhub League Cup Final played last evening.

The mid-year spectacle had proven to a resuscitation of form for the Queenstown-based side of having a chance to live up to their full potential that was hindered at the start of the year due to injuries of several key players.

Thumping victories in the group stages over Albirex Niigata (Singapore) and Police SA had drawn the Jaguars to face powerhouses Warriors FC in the quarterfinals and a hard fought victory against Hougang United in the semis before clinching the berth to their second successive Cup final.

Monsef Zerka (11) in aerial duel 
However, things didn't go according to the plan for Patrick Vallee's men in this televised showdown in front of 2,238 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in which either they failed to capitalize on their opportunities or a brick-like defence wall laid by the Bruneians stood their way from gaining any advantage.

Overall, the match was an evenly-contested affair between the two sides with end-to-end actions to and fro the both ends of the pitch with the difference being who tapped on the opportunity to maximize the potential to the fullest.

Adi Said scored Wasps second goal
Bosnian defender Boris Raspudic punished the designated home side by connecting well to a Hendra Azam's corner in the 34th minute to head home from an unmarked spot in the box to gift the Wasps the lead.

Adi Said was the next to stab home to double the score in the 47th minute by finished off the deflected cross to him from a sprint on the left flank by Azwan Ali.

With time running out for Tanjong Pagar in the match, Coach Vallee decided to flash his trump cards with the likes of both Asraf Rashid and Firdaus Idros in the second half to inject more flairs to his attacking side which did cause some stirs in the Bruneians' backline but only to see a diving header by Firdaus ruled offside in the 68th minute.

Asraf Rashid (middle) in action

Firdaus Idros (stripped top) proved his worth
"I am sad for my players but I cannot blame them for what they did tonight," said Coach Vallee after the match."We did have our chances in the match and maybe if Firdaus goal was allowed, things might change but I don't know if it was an offside from where I was."

"Two finals, two losses had not been easy for us, but I am happy to reach the final that it will good for Tanjong Pagar in boosting the team morale in the league after we did well in this tournament." added the Frenchman who was gunning for his second League Cup after he first guided Etoile FC to the podium in 2010.

DPMM won their third League Cup
On the contrary, DPMM coach Steve Kean was pleased with the outcome when he greeted the media.

Said the former Blackburn Rovers manager:"I am delighted for the win, as a move forward from last season's disappointment and they (Tanjong Pagar) were really good but I thought we kept them quiet during the match."

"Overall, I am pleased with the performance and we are having a good team who work hard that we can go far from here, but let's not get too carry away since I think there are still more to be done."

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

Saturday, July 19, 2014

[Starhub League Cup] Backfired? As "Fresh Looking" Warriors crashed out

Teams marching out ... (c) 2014 Ko Po Hui
It was a night that things did not go according to the script with Warriors FC found themselves knocked out of the only tournament they have yet to win since they were known as Singapore Armed Forces Football Club (SAFFC) in local football fraternity.

A solitary strike in the extra time from former national striker Firduas Idros was deemed enough to see Tanjong Pagar United to the semi final phrase for another juicy encounter against Hougang United awaiting them.

For this match, Warriors coach Alex Weaver fielded a much superior-looking side as compared to the team he had against Geylang International that caused quite a stir in the running up to this Queenstown tie.

Having rested the majority of his key players during the 4-0 thrashing by the Eagles, the Englishman penciled the likes of Daniel Bennett, Shi Jiayi, Hafiz Rahim, Marin Vidosevic, etc. back to the starting eleven.

In the first half, it was the Warriors who were likely to make the breakthrough given their domination of the proceedings, but credit to the hosts for putting up a stellar performance to keep their visitors at bay with at least two chances to break the deadlock.

Warriors coach Alex Weaver after the match
A much evenly-contested second half saw both sides on par trying to outwit each other that failed to see either one took their chances and eventually had the match went to extra with substitute Firdaus scored the all important winning goal in the 116th minute.

A visibly disappointed Weaver summarized his take after the match by suggesting that it was a close game.

Said the former Hougang United coach:"It was a close, tight match with end to end action that could go either way and we had our chances during the match that we didn't take, if not we could have won it during the 90 minutes."

Tanjong Pagar Utd coach Patrick Vallee
Meanwhile, Jaguars coach Patrick Vallee attributed "good coaching and planning before the game" as the key factors in his side's victory last evening, obviously taking a swipe at his counterpart's team selection which resulted the thrashing by Geylang that landed the Warriors at the Jaguars' Den.

"It is always tough to play against a fresh team and I always respect Singapore football by fielding my best team for any match we play," said the Frenchman."If we win, we win with a better team and we lost, we lost with the team and there's not need for any justification for team selection."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[Starhub League Cup] SRC enter the Plate gracefully

Credible display by SRC (white shorts)
Despite losing both their group matches in the Starhub League Cup on close margin, NFL side Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) had won applauds for their efforts by bowing out gracefully after their 2-0 defeat to Home United at the Bishan Stadium last night.

The defeat against the Protectors came days after they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by another S.League side Woodlands Wellington on last Friday.

Unlike Police SA, their fellow NFL peers in the same tournament who suffered heavy losses in their campaign, the Padang-based club filled up their roster with a number of players who had experience in the professional scene, as compared to the law enforcers's base of mainly regular officers and full-time national servicemen.

Aliimaran Lomri clears the ball
In the meantime, owing to the tight fixtures that are scheduled ahead, Home United coach Lee Lim Saeng did not start a number of his regulars on the starting eleven with stars like Korean Lee Kwan Woo, winger Bruno Castanheira and striker Qiu Li were warming the bench before gradually their appearance in the later part of the match.

It was an evenly-contested affair that the part-timers did well to hold the hosts at bay with good works from former Balestier Khalsa defence lynchpin Daniel Hammond and one-time Lions Aliimran Lomri at the back to deny any advancement, while almost came close at the half hour mark to take a surprise lead for themselves if not for the woodwork.

Indra Sahdan (right) finding his way through
Just as it was thought that the match would end with a blank score sheet before the interval, a penalty was awarded to the Protectors for a handball that was committed inside the box with Sirina Camara making no mistake from the spot to give the lead to his side in the 42nd minute.

Striking the iron while it was hot that it wasn't too long before Home United doubled their tally a minute later with another goal from Fazli Ayob and off to the dressing room soon after.

Although the reigning Singapore Cup holders came close on several occasions in the second half to increase their lead with the introduction of Lee, Castanheira and Qiu in the attacking front, the score remained status quo till the end of the night.

Naoto Iwasawa slides his way through
When asked if he was disappointed for firing blanks in the second period during the post-match press conference, Coach Lee, in his usual stance, took full responsibility for that.

Said the former Korean international:"For that (misfiring in the second half) and any criticism towards the team, I will take full responsibility for that, since my players had played according to my instruction,"

"With the tight schedule ahead for us, I have to rest a few of my senior players to conserve the energy as we only have a few days of rest before our next match and it's not going to be easy that I hope my players recover well after this match."

Dan Hammond (back) played for various S.League clubs
Taking stock of his team's performance so far, SRC team manager S Mogan opined that the presence of players with S.League experience in his team was one of the reasons for their relatively good showing.

"It helps with the presence of the players with S.League experience in our lineup, given the fact that we are an amateur side going up against professional teams in the S.League." said Morgan.

"I think we played well and 2-0 is a good result in which I am impressed with the way we counter-attack them until the penalty that we should have scored before that."

Following this outcome, the Protectors will progress to the Quarter-Finals stage with the Plate competition awaiting the part-timers with those who also finish at the bottom of other groups.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES.

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