The champions were made to work hard as they fell behind to an Anaz Hadee own-goal, but recovered to bag maximum points thanks to Jamil Ali and Jonathan Toto's own-goal
Tampines Rovers put an end to their run of two consecutive losses, when they came from behind to beat Courts Young Lions 2-1 at the Clementi Stadium.
Young Lions went into the break with a surprising 1-0 lead, thanks to an Anaz Hadee own-goal, but the Stags fought back in the second-half, with Jamil Ali grabbing the equaliser and Jonathan Toto scoring the fatal own-goal just a minute later to give the home side maximum points.
Riding on their run of two consecutive win, the Young Lions started the match being the more dangerous side but Tampines eventually settled down and it was an even affair in the opening moments.
The first real chance of the game went to the home team in the 11th minute when a Jamil lob found Stags captain Aleksandar Duric but unfortunately for the home side, Young Lions’s goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari came out in time to clear the ball away.
The Young Lions defence continued to be tight and the back four dealt well with the attacking trio of Duric, Jamil and Ahmad Latiff.
Imrab Sahib then made a brillant run down the right in the 24th minute and cut the ball back for Duric, but Young Lions defender Sheikh Abdul Hadi blocked the striker’s fierce shot.
Shadfiq Ghani then had a chance to open the scoring for the visitors but his free-kick from 25-yards out went inches over the bar.
Tampines went on to dominate possession but they struggled to break down the resolute defence lead by Sirina Camara and Sheikh Hadi.
They were then punished in the 44th minute when a moment of miscommunication between the Stags’s defence allowed an Anaz header to roll into the empty net as Tampines custodian Sasa Dreven also came off his line, wanting to clear it.
Shahfiq was the creator as he tried to pick up Sherif El-Masri with a long cross but before the winger could touch the ball, Anaz headed it back to his custodian with Sasa already off his line.
The Stags started the second-half strongly in an attempt to find an equaliser. Jamil and Latiff continued to threaten the Young Lions backline with their explosive runs, but the team just failed to convert their chances.
The current S.League champions eventually found a way pass the solid Young Lions’s defence and recorded two goals in a minute to comeback and take control of the game.
In the 66th minute, a pass from Latiff found Duric in the area and despite losing his balance, the 42-year-old slid the ball to Jamil who fired home to make it 1-1.
Just sixty seconds later, Gligorov whipped in a superb corne-kick and unfortunately for Toto, the French-born Cameroonian forward misplaced his header and it went into his own net instead.
Even though they were trailing, the young visitors didn’t give up and started to pressure the Stags defence, but unfortunately, Sasa was there to keep out the attempts of Toto and former LionsXll midfielder Fazli Ayob.
But time eventually ran out for the courageous Young Lions who put in a superb performance. They will now look forward to Sunday when they host Albirex Niigata at the Jalan Besar stadium.
For the Stags, they would be travelling to Vietnam next Wednesday for their last AFC Cup group match and on Sunday, they will visit Yishun stadium to meet Harimau Muda.