Wasps come from behind to knock Jaguars out of League Cup
In a game of poor defending and tempers flaring, the holders overturned a two-goal deficit to beat the hosts as their new Lithuanian striker made an instant impact on his debut
By Sadat Osman
The StarHub League Cup saw Tanjong Pagar United welcome Brunei DPMM to the Queenstown Stadium on Sunday for the quarter-finals, where they were convincingly beaten 5-2.
The Wasps came off a victory last week after seeing off Warriors FC in their Group D tie, and continued their form by coming back from a two-goal deficit in the first period.
Hafiz Nor and Monsef Zerka were on the mark for the Jaguars in the first half but a brace from Arturas Rimkevicius and Joao Moreira’s hatrick handed DPMM a berth in the semi-finals.
Off the first whistle, it was end-to-end action with Zerka intercepting a backward pass before dashing down the middle for a shot.
A couple of minutes later, the Jaguars opened the scoring through Hafiz, who took advantage of poor defending by DPMM in the box to slam home the night’s first goal.
The visitors weren’t about to sit back as they wanted the win as much as Tanjong Pagar.
Their best chance came in the 22nd minute when Moreira dribbled past virtually the entire Jaguars backline with only the goalkeeper to beat. The shot looked like it was destined for the net even after Aurelien Herisson got a fingertip to the ball. Anthony Aymard, however, saved his side the blushes by getting in the way to clear it to safety.
The game saw both sides take pops at each other with much ease due to the dismal defending at either end.
At the 25th-minute mark, Moreira was allowed to volley from outside the box. He hit his effort well but could only send it over the bar.
Three minutes later, Zerka doubled Tanjong Pagar’s lead. Sazali Salleh made a steaming run down the left-hand side before finding the Moroccan in the penalty box, who scored from close range.
The Wasps were now more desperate than ever as they put their centre-half Tales dos Santos upfront to win aerial battles.
They did get headers on goal and the best one came two minutes from the end of the first period when Santos’s backward header was tipped over the bar by Herisson.
At the break, the home side led 2-0, but the second period saw the revival of DPMM.
Two minutes into the half, Moreira took advantage after Ahmad Latiff cleared the ball onto the big forward, who easily slotted home.
Tanjong Pagar lost the advantage in the 55th minute due to their shoddy defending once again.
Moreira was in the thick of things, linking up with debutant Rimkevicius at the edge of the penalty area. The shot from the latter was parried by Herisson but it wasn’t enough to prevent the ball from going in even though Latiff attempted to clear off the line.
DPMM’s equaliser jolted the Jaguars and saw them earn a penalty after Latiff was brought down by Dos Santos. Zerka stepped up, but failed to convert from the spot.
Then, the downfall of Tanjong Pagar ensued.
Moreira grabbed his second of the night in the 64th minute in spectacular fashion. From a tight angle on the top of the box he swerved his shot to the top right corner, leaving Herisson rooted.
Rimkevicius then secured his brace four minutes later as poor marking allowed him to pounce on a flick-on from a throw-in and head home from close range.
With the score at 4-2, one would have thought that it was all over but utter frustration saw Walid Lounis blow his top when he was sent off for elbowing Rimkevicius in the penalty box.
Moreira completed his hatrick from the spot, making it 5-2 to the visitors.
With tempers flying, substitute Sairol Sahari was also sent off after two bookable offences in a span of four minutes.
Jaguars coach Patrick Vallee was also given the marching orders and was sent to the locker room, as the Wasps completed the comeback to knock them out of the League Cup.
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