Jaguars end Stags' perfect record
Kamel Ramdani's second half freekick was more than enough for the hosts to take all three points against the S.League champions in their first home win of the season
By Sadat Osman
Tampines Rovers took the trip to the Queenstown Stadium in Round 11 of the S.League to defend their perfect record, but a well-prepared Tanjong Pagar side knocked one past them to win their first home game of the season 1-0.
Kamel Ramdani was on target with an excellent freekick in the second half to help his team take all three points, as the Stags crashed to their firts defeat of the season.
From the get-go, the S.League champions showed their desire to recover from their AFC Cup defeat against Selangor FA last week.
Mustafic Fahrudin was on the end of a cross in the first minute that forced Aurelien Herisson to dive quickly to his left to palm the ball to safety. The Tanjong Pagar custodian was called into action again five minutes later to turn away a pinpoint free kick from Shaiful Esah.
The home side looked rather defensive as they didn’t commit many players in attack, leaving Monsef Zerka and Ismael Benahmed to work something upfront on their own.
As the Stags continued to piled on the pressure, the Jaguars had their first chance in the 22nd minute. Hafiz Nor linked up with Ramdani brilliantly on the left-hand side and he managed to pull off a hard shot, but Shaiful got in the way.
Ahmad Latiff was a solid rock in the Tanjong Pagar defence as he towered over the likes of Aleksandar Duric and Sead Hadzibulic to keep the visitors from scoring.
Tanjong Pagar got their second opportunity at goal in the 37th minute when Randani intercepted a poor pass from Khairul Amri on the left wing. He dashed towards goal on his own and hammered a low hard shot to the near post, but Sasa Dreven was equal to it.
Tampines had several attempts at goal for the rest of the first period but failed to find the net, and both sides were even at the break.
The second half began much like the first, with Nenad Bacina’s men pressing for a much-needed goal.
Six minutes in, Mustafic rose above everyone else in the penalty box but could only head the ball just over the bar.
With the home side still content to hold back in defence, Duric sent in a low cross into the six-yard box on the hour mark. That resulted in a scuffed clearance that fell to Shaiful’s sweet left foot, but he failed to make good contact as he sent the ball whaling into the stands.
The Jaguars then snuck a goal in at the 68-minute mark against the run of play after a dangerous freekick into the danger area was allowed to bounce in front of Dreven. Benahmed did enough to distract the goalkeeper, as Randani was credited with the goal.
From that moment, there was more drive in Tanjong Pagar to attack, although the Stags held them off well, while also taking shots of their own.
Subtitute Jamil Ali came the closest to equalising for the visitors when he found space at the edge of the six-yard box, but his effort flew over the bar much to the dismay of the visiting fans.
A very tactical Tanjong Pagar side held on for a narrow victory, which saw Tampines' nine-game unbeaten run finally come to an end.
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