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  • September 22, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Jurong West Stadium, Singapore
  • Referee: K. Kalimuthu

Gombak 1-1 Tampines: Bulls slow Stags' title march

Gombak 1-1 Tampines: Bulls slow Stags' title march

Zeng Liwei

Defending champions Tampines Rovers suffered a slight setback in their march towards the S-League title, as Gombak United came from a goal down to hold them to a 1-1 draw.

Tampines Rovers started the game in unusual fashion as they let their opponents dominate the opening stages, but the home side failed to find the back of the net in the first half as they were resisted by a sturdy Stags defence and an in-form Sasa Dreven in goal.

The closet they came to scoring was midway through the half when a hopeful long ball from midfield was played towards Mustaqim Mansur near the edge of the box.

Sasa was quick off his line to head the ball away, but his clearance fell to Christopher Anderson, whose lob swerved away from goal at the last moment.

As the game progressed, Tampines finally got their act together and started playing together as a unit after some tactical tweaks from coach Tay Peng Kee.

Singapore striker Aleksandar Duric started to drift back more into the midfield to add some much-needed stability, and that change paid off soon after.

Picking up the ball in the middle of the pitch, Duric threaded a through-ball for Ahmed Fahmie, who was held back by Gombak skipper Obadin Aikhena.

From the resulting freekick, striker Sead Hadzibulic headed the ball into the far corner to break the deadlock and give the defending champions the lead.

Tampines almost added a second in the closing stages of the first half, as the 42-year-old Duric wriggled his way past the defence before unleashing a low driven shot which Zaiful Nizam in the Gombak goal was equal to.

The scores were leveled in the 77th minute as Nurullah Hussein dribbled past a sea of yellow shirts before firing in a shot which was steered into goal by the outstretched leg of winger Hafiz Rahim.

The draw means that the stage is now set for an exciting tie between the defending champions and second-placed Albirex Niigata (S) next Wednesday, which will be telecast live.