|Fazrul Hazli (right) scored the consolation for "The Fighters"|
But what really surprised the crowd of 1277 at the Jalan Besar Stadium was the three-minute stoppage added on by the referee, which I doubt the decision went down too well with the audience, when many were more eager to head out for a breather following an uninspiring half of football.
|Ivan Dzoni (extremely right) facing pressure from Felda's defenders|
Whilst we aren't sure if it is because the 58-year-old former Courts Young Lions coach still in the process of assessing the strength of his new team and resulted the team in yellow consistently strolled the ball around the park, trying to find any chance to prick open the stubborn Malaysian defence.
Probably because that assessment was completed before the break, the designated hosts decided to tweak their approach with two attacks launched on the left flank right after the interval to spark some excitement to the game.
|Ismadi Mukhtar being sandwiched in this attempt|
“First half, I think my team did a good job where I told my players to maintain our discipline in both defence and attack,” said Felda coach Mohd Nik in the post-match press conference.
“In the second half, we changed our formation to 4-4-2 in order to make it more compact in the middle to prevent Tampines from penetrate too easily, but I felt the first goal we conceded was due to the lack of concentration and fatigue." added the 62-year-old coach who only took over the reins of last season's Malaysian Super League (MSL) runners-up merely days ago.
|Ridzuan Abdunloh Pula (middle) diffused a threat|
Although it took another twenty minutes before Tampines doubled their lead through the talismanic Khairul Amri who only started the game by came in as a replacement for ex-Croatian U-17 skipper Ivan Dzoni in the 70th minute.
The decision to start the 31-year-old Lions star from the bench was because Amri had just recovered from an injury and in view of the Community Shield which is taking place this coming Sunday against reigning champions Albirex Niigata (Singapore) at Kallang, according to Tampines' assistant coach Herman Zailani in the post-match media briefing.
|Son Yong Chan (7) kept close to Felda Utd's Hadin (27)|
Said Coach Herman of that 86th minute goal:"It was a good goal that made the game exciting towards to the end."
"It is also important for us to start the season well and this win placed us on a good position that I hope it is something we can build on it." he added.