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  • September 19, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
  • Referee: M. Taqi

Courts Young Lions 0-3 Tampines Rovers: Stags inch closer to title

Courts Young Lions 0-3 Tampines Rovers: Stags inch closer to title

Zeng Liwei

A brace from 42-year-old national striker Aleksandar Duric saw the defending champions ease to victory against the Courts Young Lions, as they opened up an 8-point lead at the top

Tampines got off to a bright start in the game, as the evergreen Duric grabbed a brace in the opening 15 minutes.

His first goal came with just six minutes on the clock, as a looping ball from strike partner Sead Hadzibulic eluded the central defensive duo of Emmeric Ong and Sirina Camara, and fell perfectly for the Tampines skipper to volley into the back of the net.

The second goal came as a result of a defensive lapse at the back, with Duric gleefully capitalizing on the mix-up to guide the ball beyond Neezam Aziz in the Young Lions goal.

It could have been three for Tampines minutes later, as Duric played a brilliant through ball which split the Young Lions defence and left Ahmed Fahmie with only the goalkeeper to beat.

However, the winger could only shoot straight at Neezam, before his follow-up attempt from the rebound was blocked by Emmeric.

The Young Lions’ best chance of the half came towards the half hour mark, when Shamil Sharif eluded his marker down the right before centering the ball for Benjamin Lee in the box.

Unfortunately for the home side, Benjamin was unable to connect with the cross.

It was a frustrating game for the home side as their hard work and creativity in midfield did not translate to an end-product in the attacking third.

That was largely due to a Stags defence which was solidly helmed by Anaz Hadee and Singapore international Fahrudin Mustafic.

The Stags bench were up on their feet in the second half, when referee Muhd Taqi waved away the appeals as Duric appeared to be manhandled to the ground by Emmeric in the penalty box.

Despite being two goals down, the home side was not ready to give up just yet and almost got their reward when Benjamin's effort was palmed away by Tampines custodian Sasa Dreven.

Former Singapore international Ahmad Latiff secured the three points for the league leaders in the 63rd minute, when he struck a 30-yard screamer into the bottom corner of Neezam’s goal.

With this win, Tampines sit firmly at the top of the table on 45 points, with second-placed Albirex Niigata trailing them by eight points, albeit with a game in hand.