Tampines Rovers FC
Tampines Rovers 2-1 Warriors FC: Stags sink Warriors to retain Charity Shield
Two goals in four first-half minutes was it took for the defending S.League champions to retain the Great Eastern Charity Shield at the expense of the RHB Singapore Cup holders
|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Kenneth Tan
Defending S.League champions Tampines Rovers successfully retained the Great Eastern Charity Shield with a 2-1 win over RHB Singapore Cup holders Warriors FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.
Both sides fielded their new additions - including the much-lauded ‘marquee’ duo of Martin Wagner and Kazuyuki Toda - in this much-awaited curtain raiser to the 2013 S.League season.
Tampines lined up in a brand new 4-4-1-1 formation under new coach Nenad Bacina that featured both ‘returning’ heroes Shahdan Sulaiman and Khairul Amri, with the former deployed in the ‘hole’ behind Aleksandar Duric and the latter on the left flank.
For Warriors FC, new striker Sufian Anuar featuring upfront alongside Erwan Gunawan, while former Home United captain Shi Jiayi lined up on the right flank.
The Stags went into the games all guns blazing and pinned the Warriors back in their own half, earning their first opportunity on seven minutes when Marin Vidosevic fouled Amri just outside the box.
Shahdan’s resulting freekick was tipped wide by Hassan Sunny for a corner, but the former Singapore number one failed to deal with what came after that.
A superb inswinging delivery from the left peg of Shaiful Esah saw Hassan rush out to punch the ball clear, but it was Tampines debutant Kunihiro Yamashita who got his head to the leather first to nod his new side ahead.
The Warriors tried to hit back immediately through Sufian, whose header was deflected just wide but the resulting corner saw them being hit by a classic counter-attack.
The Stags piled bodies forward as they cleared the corner, with Imran Sahib initiating the move with a superb slide-rule pass from midfield that spilt the defence to Shahdan inside the box. The playmaker coolly squared the ball for the onrushing Amri to tap home an emphatic finish at Hassan’s near post to doublt his side's lead.
That was two goals in four minutes for the Stags after only 12 minutes, although the Warriors managed to steady their ship thereafter.
V. Selvaraj’s side was a truly transformed side after the break however, and the Warriors duly pulled one back on 55 minutes.
A flowing move from midfield initiated by Inui saw Shimpei Sakurada hit the post from a tight angle, but Sufian was on hand to gleefully sweep home the rebound from close range.
A flurry of substitutions for both teams soon followed, with the Warriors threatening to level the scores towards the end.
Erwan curled one into the arms of Dreven on 76 minutes, substitute Abdil Qaiyyim’s half-volley was spilled by the custodian on 81 minutes with no teammate on hand to pounce, before Sufian headed just wide from Inui’s inswinging cross.
However despite the four minutes of added time, they were unable to find the net for a second time as the Stags held on for victory and their first silverware of the new season.
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