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  • July 14, 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Clementi Stadium, Singapore
  • Referee: A. Bin Abdul Bashir

Duric double was enough to crush the Protectors

Duric leads Stags rout against Protectors

Duric double was enough to crush the Protectors

Sam Chow

The veteran striker struck twice as the defending champions dealt a blow to the uniformed giants' title hopes

Tampines Rovers moved back to the summit of the S.League table after a 4-1 victory over Home United on Sunday evening, but not before a one and a half hour delay due to the Lighting Warning System (LWS).
The crowd had just settled into their seats at the Clementi Stadium when Aleksandar Duric broke away from the Protectors defence and slotted home to give the hosts the lead after just one minute of play.
A nightmare start for Home coach Lee Lim Saeng almost turned from bad to worse when Kwon Da Kyung misplaced a header back to Shahril Jantan. The ball beat the Home goalkeeper and looked to be creeping into the bottom corner before bouncing off the left-hand post, much to the relief of the South Korean defender.
Home started to grow into the game and caused problems for the Rovers defence on both flanks with the pace of Firdaus Idros and Hafiz Rahim.
And they almost got their reward and equaliser at the half-hour mark when a long ball found Kwon at the opposite end. The defender beat Tampines goalkeeper Andre Martins and found the net, but referee Abdul Malik ruled the 24-year-old to have handled the ball and showed him the yellow card instead.
The Stags were relieved to hear the half-time whistle as coach Tay Peng Kee looked to re-group his side.
But the home side were on the back foot right after the restart as the Protectors built on their momentum and went in search for the crucial equaliser.
Tampines were under pressure from waves of Home attacks but they showed what champions are made of when they doubled their lead against the run of play in the 51st minute.
Singapore international Shaiful Esah whipped in a delicious free-kick from the left that was met by a brilliant Kunihiro Yamashita header that bounced off the crossbar and into the net.
But just when one thought the Protectors were down and out, second-half substitute Indra Sahdan popped up a minute later to pull one back for the away side after some good work by Sirina Camara on the left.
Five minutes later, the Stags regained their two-goal lead once again. Shaiful’s left foot proved lethal for the holders as his corner was met with a thundering header by Duric, which gave Shahril no chance in goal.
But just when the goals were flowing and the crowd was at the edge of their seats, the dreaded LWS sounded at the 62nd minute.

Hordes of disappointed fans departed as the rain started to pour down on Clementi Stadium shortly after.
The game finally resumed at 11pm, one and a half hour after the stoppage.
With the lengthy stoppage of play, the players struggled to get their legs going after the restart and the wet conditions did not do them any favours.
But Khairul Amri, who came on for the ineffective Jamil Ali just before the stoppage, had the legs and freshness to put the final nail in the Protectors’ coffin 10 minutes from time.
The Tampines striker was the quickest and sharpest at the far post after a corner by Shahdan Sulaiman to head home the ball as the Stags ended up easy 4-1 victors to stay top of the table.