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  • August 29, 2013
  • • 19:30
  • • Woodlands Stadium, Singapore
  • Referee: A. Bin Abdul Bashir

Rams fight back to hold Stags in thriller

Rams fight back to hold Stags in thriller

Chegu Thamrin

The hosts came back three times on home soil to share the spoils with the league leaders in a scintillating display of attacking football from both sides

The game was billed as the battle between the league’s form teams, with both Woodlands Wellington and Tampines Rovers having won four out of their last five games.

With the two sides having also scored more goals than any other team so far in the S.League, expectations of a goal-fest were on the cards - and the promise was duly delivered.

However, despite all the hype and excitement, the match started off rather slowly, with both sets of teams getting a couple of half chances.

Tampines dominated the early proceedings and created the first real chance of the game only after 15 minutes when Khairul Amri played a one-two with Firdaus Kasman and brought out a good save from Rams goalkeeper Yazid Yasin, with Aleksandar Duric caught offside while trying to hit the rebound.

Duric was not to be denied for long though, as it was only a minute later that the talismanic league top scorer broke the deadlock.

Mustafic Fahrudin released Duric on the right and he sidestepped two Woodlands defenders before placing the ball exquisitely into the far corner, beyond the reach of Yazid.

The Stags then pushed for a second goal, with Duric and Amri both going close.  

It came as a surprise then that Woodlands Wellington got the equaliser five minutes before the break with their first real attack of the game.

Against the run of play, Theerawekin Seehawong delivered a glorious cross-field ball to Chang Jo Yoon, whose shot deflected off Moon Soon Ho before landing in the back of the net.

Tampines though regained the lead almost immediately on the stroke of half-time when a deflected shot from Firdaus Kasman gave substitute Jamil Ali the ball inside the penalty box.

The forward fell under a challenge from Yazid, giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty. Mustafic wasn’t going to miss and unsurprisingly, he sent Yazid the wrong way.

The lead didn’t last long as Chang scored with a freekick early in the second half.

The Korean ace fooled the entire Tampines wall, hitting a grounder into the bottom right corner to leave custodian Andre Martins with no chance.

In what was now turning out to be a familiar pattern to the game, Tampines regained the lead yet again in the 66th minute with an excellent goal from Jamil.

Jamil released Shahdan Sulaiman on the right and he squared it to Duric, who hit the ball against the post. But the first-half substitute was the quickest to react and scored on his second attempt after Yazid had made a point-blank save to deny him on his first try.

The hosts, however, refused to give up and pushed for a third equaliser. Inevitably, they were finally rewarded 10 minutes from time, albeit with a touch of fortune.

Martins was the prime culprit as he bizarrely spilled a routine catch from a corner, resulting in the ball rebounding off Shariff Samat and into the net.

Both teams then huffed and puffed to try and get the elusive winner, but the final whistle ensured that the honours remained even.