Tatsuro Inui and Mislav Karoglan's first half strikes were enough to register the Choa Chu Kang side's first victory since early MayA goal inside 30 seconds and another 21 minutes later provided the Warriors with a handy 2-0 lead in their Wednesday night Great Eastern-YEO’S S.League match against Harimau Muda B at Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
But the home side failed to press home their first-half dominance and extend that early lead, leaving them open to the threat posed by a rejuvenated Malaysian Under-21 side in the second half.
They hung on, winning 2-1 eventually, succumbing to a good counter-attack in the 82nd minute and then surviving some scary goalmouth moments, before referee Abdul Malik called a halt to proceedings, after three minutes of time-added-on.
Mislav Karoglan got his side in front after only 28 seconds when he steered home at close range from Tatsuro Inui’s left-footed cross from the right-hand edge of the penalty- area.
Inui could even have opened the scoring himself, some ten seconds or so earlier, after making an incisive run from the right and then electing to try and find Karoglan, when he had time to take the shot himself.
Immediately taking up the challenge again to get the better of the defenders pursuing him, the Japanese playmaker did just that, after finding some space out wide a second time, before delivering the perfect ball in to Karoglan.
It was all Warriors for most of the first-half, Shi Jiayi hitting a 35-yard effort that skimmed just wide in the fourth minute and Daniel Bennett heading close to the left-hand upright, after a Jiayi corner in the eighth.
When Shimpei Sakurada found his compatriot, Inui, on the left in the 22nd minute, the livewire ‘extra striker’ advanced into the six-yard area and toyed with the Harimau Muda keeper at his near-post, fooling him with a wickedly curving ball that found the net to the keeper’s right, just as his opponent was moving the other way.
At 2-0 it could have been anything over the remaining 70 or so minutes, but the Warriors failed to secure a third goal and found themselves increasingly under pressure as the second- half wore on.
Harimau Muda made a couple of substitutions and put in a good final 10 minutes, just as they had done when securing a point at Toa Payoh Stadium days earlier with a devastatingly late equaliser.
Here they pulled it back to 2-1 as a good cross from the right was headed home in the centre of the six-yard box by the team’s top scorer, Ridzuan Abdunloh.
But it came too late to find enough time to secure another late goal to take home a share of the points as the home side ended a disastrous streak.