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[TNP League Cup] - Deeper Stags Clinched The Semis Berth

Veteran Noh (center) shown who is the boss in the match
I thought it more or less tells it all when Tampines Rovers' skipper Noh Rahman did well to contain someone fifteenth year old younger than him in The New Paper League Cup Group A fixture against Warriors FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Croatian youngster Marijan Suto found himself in a fix for his inability to get pass the 35-year-old former Singapore international and things couldn't be more worse off when the 20-year-old striker was largely an isolated figure upfront.

In a first half with little much to cheer about and many would thought it would be a goal-less affair before the interval, a freak opener by former Irish Republic youth international Billy Mehmet opened the account for the Stags moments before referee Jansen Foo signalled for the break.

Fabian Kwok (right) in an aerial duel 
An uncharacteristic blooper by Warriors' custodian Basil Chan saw the ball fumbled into the goal much to the astonishing of those at the ground but Ismail Yunos was there at the first instance to give a consolation pat on the back of the former Young Lions 'keeper while heading back to the dressing room.

In spite of having seven players away on national duty as compared to only two in the Warriors side, Tampines had clearly shown the depth in their squad for their disposal with the naming of three Prime League players in their starting eleven whose performance were lauded by coach Akbar Nawas after the 3-0 win.

Of the youth triumvirate, 19-year-old midfielder Ariyan Malik put in his name in the scoresheet in the 62nd minute while Fabian Kwok doubled the scores earlier in the 55th minute.

Saifullah (43) did not let his dad down in this match
"It's not easy to have three youngsters to start in a game," said Coach Akbar, a former staff coach with the National Football Academy (NFA), in the post-match media briefing."And I think it's important to have belief in your players and getting the best out of them."

"Credit must go to them for stepping up in this game which I think is good for them."

Other than that, Coach Akbar was equally pleased with the overall display by his men that saw them not only clinched a spot in the semi-finals but also kept a clean sheet against the nine-time league champions, an improved showing than their last game against Hougang United whom they conceded four goals.

Coach Akbar pleased with the options he is having 
Added the 41-year-old tactician:"Definitely, it would be three-nil given anytime of the day when who would be happy to concede four goals (like we did against Hougang)?

"Today, we were tactically smart and patient in our defence that saw my team played according to plan."

In another fixture of the evening saw three-time Cup holder Brunei DPMM beat Hougang United 2-0 to join the Stags in the next phase of the mid-season tournament.


  1. It is very sad to see Warriors FC in this state. They were always challenging for honours but today, they are fighting to play better football. Sad.

  2. Warriors has been a joke even during the sports science era, and it all went downhill since then. And certain players in the team are simply not good enough. It's a mystery how they can still be in the starting eleven on a regular basis.

  3. I guess it happens to any successful club who enjoyed years of success for a lengthy period that things came to standstill for not able to break through new barriers, example Liverpool after the 1960-1980s, Man Utd when both Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down.


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