|FROM WOODLANDS STADIUM
By Eddie Ridzwan
An early goal from Harimau Muda youngster Maxsius Musa was cancelled out by a stunning strike by Khalid Hamdoui for Woodlands Wellington as both sides clashed on Tuesday night, but the home side's hard work was undone when goalkeeper Ahmadulhaq Che Omar swiped at his own player instead of the ball to allow Yazid Zaini a simple finish as the Malaysians came away with a 2-1 victory.
Fresh off the full-time whistle Harimau Muda coach Razip Ismail did not hide his delight at his team’s first win of the season.
"I’m very happy that we collected our first win tonight," he said. "It shows that the team is progressing very well.
“Our opponents today are a very experienced side but we were able to push ourselves [and them] from the beginning.
“In every game we play, we play to win. But it has only been two games and there are many more down the road, and it is important that we maintain our performance for the season."
Meanwhile, Woodlands coach Salim Moin finally decided to speak to the gathered press after an extended period of introspection by the sidelines.
“I have to say I am disappointed," he started off, before going on to praise his opponents.
"Both teams wanted to win but credit to Harimau Muda. They were organized and energetic, they were always chasing for the ball and that was fantastic on their part.
“They were full of courage, bravery and desire to win the game. If they carry on like this, they have a chance of being the top finishers in the table."
Moin was also quick to play down the significance of their first loss at home this season.
“I am not worried about the loss," he confidently said. "As long as we continue to play good football like how we did against the Warriors, it should be fine.
"However, I believe that there my players might have been overconfident coming into this game against Harimau Muda."
The former Balestier Khalsa coach claimed that he didn’t have any complaints about his goalkeeper's error and also felt that the sending off of Shahril Alias could have been avoided.
“He (Ahmadulhaq) just needs to be more certain in terms of decision making," Moin stated.
“I felt that the red card could have been avoided. As I said, decision making is important. In this case, the goalkeeper already caught the ball; you should back away from the challenge instead of going full-impact at the keeper."
When asked about his decision to drop Yazid Yasin, who played in the 2-2 draw against Warriors, in favor of Ahmadulhaq, Moin claimed that both goalkeepers were 'capable of being number 1'.
“I select players based on performance in training," he said. "The players know that if they perform well in training they will stand a good chance of starting the next game."
Salim Moin’s charges will next travel to Bishan in search of their first win of the season, while Harimau Muda will look to pounce on the Jaguars at Queenstown.