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Tanjong Pagar FC cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Combined University Team, while Police SA saw off Young Women 2-0 in the other semi-final.

     By Afifah Ariffin

The first leg of the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup proved that experience triumphs over youth.

In the first match over at St Wilfred’s, Tanjong Pagar FC continued their fine form as they thrashed the newly formed Combined University Team.

The match kicked off promptly at 5pm and the Jaguars were quick to settle into the game. Their first chance came in the first minute of play, when the University team conceded a free-kick just outside their penalty box. Playmaker Miku Sakurada stepped up to take the kick and was unlucky to see the shot crash back off the crossbar.

University’s closest chance came when winger Deborah Chin swung in a very inviting corner which skimmed off the head of ShaSha Jan. They made the first substitution of the match, with forward Oh Shi Yi replacing Priscilla Tan.

The first goal came for the Jaguars came through Luo Jian Zhen who finished off a pass from Sakurada after the latter had dribbled skillfully past the University defenders in the penalty box.

The Jaguars held much of the possession of the game, and increased their pace after their first goal.

In the 42nd minute, a messy scramble in the University penalty box saw a strike from Sakurada deflect off Captain Sharda Parvin and into the net as the first half ended 2-0 to Tanjong Pagar FC.

The University Team made another substitution at the start of the second half, taking off left winger Jacy Yee to bring on Ang Kuan Ren.

Two minutes into the second half, the Jaguars struck again with a goal from youngster Shizuka Rico and the fourth goal came just five minutes later as second-half substitute Elly Yanti finished off yet another Sakurada pass.

Tanjong Pagar continued their fabulous run and Jian Zhen got onto the score sheet once more in the 82nd minute to make it 5-0.

The University Team did manage to grab a consolation in the 85th minute, thanks to centre forward Sherlyn Koh's goal.

Speaking to Singapore after the match, Sherlyn Koh said: “We did well considering that we have been a team for only a short while. Some of the goals could have been prevented, but we will try much harder in the next leg.”

“To me, a goal is not the most important. It is how we play that matters most. Towards the end, we played much better and the goal came in. We will continue to try our best and score more goals in the return leg,” she added.

With a massive 5-1 advantage, Tanjong Pagar FC will begin their second leg this Saturday as the obvious favourites to enter the finals.

In the other game, Police SA cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over Young Women.