Ridzuan Abdunloh and Yazid Zaini struck within the opening half hour to secure a second consecutive victory on home soil as the hosts held on despite going a man down
|FROM PASIR GUDANG STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
Harimau Muda chalked up a second successive home win after cruising to an inspiring 2-0 success over Woodlands Wellington at the Pasir Gudang Stadium on Saturday.
Ridzuan Abdunloh and Yazid Zaini scored a goal each in the first half but the hosts ended the match with 10 men after the former received his second yellow card in the 74th minute.
The Rams, who were missing Khalid Hamdaoui though suspension, started the match in attacking mode as Chang Jo Yoon was denied a goal in the 11th minute when his header from inside the six-yard box found the bar instead.
It was a miss that would haunt the visitors as Razip Ismail’s boys took the lead two minutes later.
Ridzuan got to the end of the Yazid's cross and although his initial volley was saved by Yazid Yasin, the makeshift striker followed up on the loose ball and slammed it home for the opening goal in the 13th minute.
With Akmal Ishak and Faizat Ghali ruled out, Razip decided to put faith in natural right winger Ridzuan upfront, who was partnered by Yazid - himself a midfielder by trade.
Things were not going to Salim Moin’s plans as the Harimau Muda defence had an easy time dealing with their opponents’ strategy of sending long balls from deep for Chang and Goh Swee Swee, who both had to chase the ambitious deliveries from their team-mates.
The match was settled before the half-hour mark when the hosts scored their second goal of the match.
Yazid went on a solo run from the left, sidestepping central defenders Cho Sung Hwan and Shariff Samat before putting the ball away to the bottom corner in the 29th minute.
The Rams players came out for the second half with renewed determination, but they were let down by poor finishing and a lack of support for their front two.
The hosts could have added a couple more goals if not for the heroics of Yazid, who was making spectacular saves from point-blank range.
The win moved Young Tigers up to fifth in the league table on 20 points, two ahead of Brunei DPMM who have a game in hand.