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."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Martin "No-SHOW" and Zaiful's SHOW in Tampines win

Tampines coach Nenad Bacina
Thought of having to take a better view of how Tampines Rovers' "Marquee Player" Martin Wagner would fare, after only saw him in action at the Charity Shield from a flat perspective.

Unfortunately for the second game on the roll, the Argentine signing was left on the bench without having a role in the game at Clementi that saw the defending champions came from behind to record their first win in three recent outings against a resilient Balestier Khalsa.

Speaking to the media after the 2-1 win, Tampines coach Nenad Bacina revealed Wagner is having some "adjusting" problems.

Said the Croatian:"Martin (Wagner) is doing his job, but he is having some adjusting problems, especially in terms of communication with his teammates on the field as it's important when he is a midfielder, so as for now I would like him to see things more from outside (the field) and hope things will improve soon.

"I think all the pressure should be on me, instead of him (Wagner) since I'm responsible for all these." added the former SAFFC skipper who took over the helm at Tampines at the start of the year.

At the meantime, the ex Hougang United coach shared his thoughts on the game which marked the Stags' return to their domestic campaign after a mixed AFC Cup journey so far (with a defeat and a draw).

Said coach Bacina:"We were expecting a tough game, especially against an organized Balestier and I'm happy with the attitude shown by the players in the match, we had 100% control in the second half where we created some good chances and I felt we deserved the victory tonight."

Zaiful Nizam- excellent game (file picture)

Despite saying that, the 42-year-old tactician did laud the performance of Balestier's goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam for his excellent performance that kept the Stags at bay on several occasions which it was a bit hard to be done by for ending up losing the game.

"He (Zaiful) did well in the game and made some good saves from the set-pieces in the game." commented coach Bacina on the former Gombak United custodian who started his first game of the season this evening since recovering from a knee injury.

The sentiment was shared by Tigers coach Darren Stewart at the post-match media briefing.

"I am pleased with his (Zaiful) performance tonight for the fact he was out of the game for six months because of knee injury," said the former Australian international.

"It was good performance and a fair result which I felt Tampines deserved to win." added coach Stewart.

The game begun in the 11th minute with a brilliant run along the goal-line by Balestier's striker Patrick Paran from the right flanking before laid a low pass that was well latched by Korean import Kim Min Ho with no mistake from close range to give the Tigers a shock lead.

The second half saw the hosts bounced back from a jaded first half display with their constant bombardment on the Balestier's fortress that was well marshalled by Zaiful and his chief defender Gabriel Obadin until the equalizer off the corner through the header by defender Seiji Kaneko at the hour mark.

A well-placed ball by evergreen Aleksandar Duric saw Shahdan Sulaiman shrugged off the challenges posed by the Tigers defenders along the way and stabbed home with a cool finish plus the three points in the bag for Tampines in the 88th minute to wrap up the proceedings.

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