|Tampines faced an aggressive opponents in Ceres (black)|
The Stags were a depleted side with several notable absentees like skipper Fahrudin Mustafic (suspension), Fazrul Nawaz (injury), etc. thus taking on an aggressive side like Ceres would meant to see both their mental and physical strength being put a test right from the start.
|Encounters like this were common occurrences|
Not less than three times in a space of fifteenth minutes since the kickoff saw Ceres being awarded free kicks from the edge of the box after Azkal international Patrick Reichelt effectively forced Tampines committed those fouls to their advantage.
|Ismadi Mukhtar kept Stephan Schrock (11) checked|
That sucker punch did not derail the fighting spirit of Tampines who appeared to be more composed and organized in the second half and was duly awarded for their effort in the 57th minute.
Lions defender Hafiz Abu Sujad was at the receiving end of a Billy Mehmet pass before unleashed a volley from close range to give the Stags a 3-2 lead on aggregate.
|Hafiz Sujad (right) scored for Tampines|
As the result, the game was forced into extra time after the 78th minute effort by the industrious Reichelt to make it 2-1 to level the overall score 3-3.
Nonetheless, all those efforts were futile as Tampines are determined to keep things in shape when goals in each half of extra time from Afiq Yunos (in the 105th minute) and Saifullah Akbar (112th) propelled them to their first Singapore Cup final since 2012 when they were runners-up to SAFFC (now Warriors FC) on 5-3 aggregate.
|Stags thank their fans after the win|
Said the bespectacled coach:"It's difficult for us to set any priority now and I felt that taking 'one game at a time' works for us.
"Hopefully, after the break that comes by we will have our players available for us (for the remaining of the season)."