Razip Ismail relieved to qualify for Plate

The Harimau Muda head coach was happy to overcome a tough amateur side while his opposite number Rozaidi Zainal lauded Admiralty’s showing against the professionals

Harimau Muda and Admiralty FC clashed at the Jalan Besar Stadium in their StarHub League Cup Group A fixture to determine who would qualify for the Plate on Tuesday night.

Razip Ismail’s side needed only a draw, but they pulled off a 2-1 victory against the National Football League (NFL) team in a rather evenly-matched encounter.

The Young Tigers coach was utterly relieved to have made it, after a strong showing from Admiralty.

"It was an achievement for us because it was a ‘do-or-die’ situation for both teams," he said.

“A few of my key players were missing due to injury and it was a hard-fought victory.”

Razip was indeed disappointed that his team was struggling against "amateurs" but at the same time, credited Admiralty.

“[Admiralty] had a few good and experienced players that outdid my boys," he claimed.

“My player were nervous in the first half and got better in the second. The plan now is to go all the way and win the Plate."

Wolves coach Rozaidi Zainal, meanwhile, was all smiles despite dropping out of the League Cup.

“I really applaud my players for their excellent performance in the League Cup," he praised.

“We were [also] missing several players due to injury."

The former S.League player was proud that as an amateur side, his men showed the professionals that they were no pushovers.

“We gave the S.League teams a good shot and we showed them that playing against NFL teams is not a walk in the park," Rozaidi declared.

On what went wrong for his side, he added that his players lacked the tactical discipline that professional teams have.

“At least we didn’t get hammered and from this League Cup experience, I will work on match preparation, changing the players' pace and game fitness," he concluded.

Admiralty  will resume their season in the NFL Division One, where they have gone three games unbeaten.

Harimau Muda on the other hand will progress to the Plate, with only Hougang United as the other confirmed participants so far. The rest of the spots will be decided when the group stages conclude on Wednesday night.