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, April 26, 2012

"Kena Tiang"

Ahmad Fahmie's second half effort "Kena Tiang" (hit the upright)
To Tampines Rovers, Kitchee SC of Hong Kong had proven to be a tough proposition with their Catalan-inspired style of play in both's second meetup in the AFC Cup Group F preliminaries.

The swift passing with the movement on and off the ball by the current Hong Kong Division One table-toppers had definitely placed them on a much favourable position to break the deadlock in the first half, if not for the heroics of Croatian custodian Sasa Dreven on several occasions.

Stags' Benoit Croissant (right) and Anaz Hadee (center) up against Kitchee's Lam Ka Wai (left)
Much of this handicap shown could attributed to the absence of midfield enforcer Fahrudin Mustafic, who was serving his suspension, that resulted such a precarious situation for the defending S.League champions.

Still, the Stags counted themselves unlucky in the second period of play with Ahmad Fahmie's effort in the box struck the upright and followed by the inches-wide effort by skipper Aleksandar Duric.

Ahmad Latiff up against Kitchee's Zesh Rehman
With Terengganu's thumping win over Vietnam's SLNA on the same night, Tampines founded themselves not making to the next phrase of the second-tier continental tournament since they first took part in 2005.

"I am happy with the way my team played and we tried to attack, but to us one point is a very good (result) since we are already in the second round."said Kitchee's Spanish coach Josep Balague in his post-match assessment.

"We are a team that don't have experience in this competition and furthermore we aren't the strongest team in Hong Kong two years until we won the league title last year and in a good position to do so again this year.

"And it's more for the players to gain from this experience for taking part in such tournament, as they are required to play more games this season on top of our domestic league and cup competitions that I hope we can make the best of the last 16." added coach Balague.

Skipper Alek Duric (9) is Stags leading scorer in this tournament
Following the disappointment of crashing out of the tournament coupled with the fact that the Turtles of the MSL had triumphed on the same night, Tampines coach Steven Tan appeared unperturbed when making his presence at the post-match press conference

"Disappointed is because we couldn't get the win and the players had given all their all, but that's football where we now we have to move on." said the former national winger upon prompted the corresponding result.

"Now for us is to stay positive and head to Vietnam to get a win, after which we will concentrate on our league."

Tampines found themselves constantly defended such "dead-ball" in match
"The (other) teams are improving and it's never easy now for us, while during last year's tournament we could score one of the many chances we created, but this year we seems to struggling to put the ball in the net.

"Which I hope the stop drop in the AFC Cup and not in the S.League." added coach Tan after saw his once free-scoring side recorded three goals in the continental campaign so far.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE MATCH PICTURES

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