Jaguars fight back to complete double over Warriors
The hosts ended a two-game losing streak as they came from a goal behind to notch their second victory against the visitors this season
By Paul Green
Tanjong Pagar United bounced back from the disappointment of two successive defeats to complete a double over the Warriors, as they came from a goal down to post a 2-1 win over a side they had beaten 6-1 earlier in the season at Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
This time it was at Queenstown Stadium, the scene of their most important win of the season so far: a 1-0 success over title-holders Tampines Rovers.
But that seemed so long ago, as it had been followed by defeats at the hands of Balestier Khalsa 2-1 and Harimau Muda 3-0, both times away from home.
If ever the Jaguars needed a confidence boost to show their loyal supporters that the latest two results had been a poor reflection of the team’s true abilities, it was to win on home turf against the Warriors, a team with quality players, albeit one that has been struggling for consistency.
Just as they did in the teams' first meeting back in February, Warriors took the lead with a goal from Sufian Anuar.
On the previous occasion it had been an early goal, which the Jaguars quickly cancelled out, but this time it was the 37th minute before the scoreboard sprang to life.
Sufian found himself free on the left just outside the penalty area and elected to go for goal.
With a clear sight of stand-in goalkeeper Shamsudin Hashim’s net, the striker sent the ball flying into the top right corner, to the delight of the travelling fans.
But Tanjong Pagar put things right very soon, Sazali Salleh winning the ball down the right and feeding Hafiz Nor, who whipped in a low diagonal ball across the face of goal.
There to meet it and reach it before any Warriors defender could clear it was Asraf Rashid, who slid in powerfully at the far post to level it at 1-1 in the 39th minute.
It had been a rather scrappy affair to that point, but when it looked as if the Warriors were beginning to get on top, Tanjong Pagar struck a second time midway through the second half via Hafiz himself.
The speedy winger ran onto a ball released from deep by Monsef Zerka down the right and raced on to confront an advancing Hassan Sunny in the Warriors goal.
It was touch-and-go whether the clash might wind up with a penalty being awarded had Hassan got it wrong, together with a potential sending-off.
But Hafiz got it right to the exact split-second, as he reached the ball just before the goalkeeper and clipped it into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 in the 68th minute.
The Jaguars hung on doggedly to preserve their lead, with Shamsudin in particular, showing plenty of bravery and fast reflexes right through until the end.
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