|FROM CHOA CHU KANG STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
Warriors FC suffered one of their heaviest defeats in the S.League after they fell to a 6-1 defeat to Tanjong Pagar Unitedat the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Wednesday night.
The defeat equaled their loss by the same scoreline to Home United in June 2004, before they suffered their heaviest-ever defeat two months later against the same team in a 8-1 thrashing at the Bishan Stadium.
Although Sufian Anuar opened the scoring in the 10th minute, things soon went downhill as Tanjong Pagar hit back with six goals thanks to a hat-trick from Monsef Zerka, a brace from Kamel Randani and an Anthony Aymard header.
Speaking after the match, Jaguars coach Patrick Valle stressed that credit had to be given to all his players despite his foreign players scoring all six goals.
“I have no comment about the scoreline: to me, a win is a win," he stated.
"But the 6-1 is good to my heart, unlike the match against Balestier where we were leading only 2-1 towards the end.
“I must congratulate the whole team as Zerka can score the goals [only] because of the assists made by the other players and also the four guys at the back-line and Aurelien Herisson, who protected the goalposts.
"Of course I am happy for Zerka, but my team is not only about the foreign players, it’s about the locals too.”
Despite the win, Vallee believes his team still has room for improvement and that they should be wary of situations beyond their control as the season progress.
“It is a good start but we must be careful in the next few games; we must keep up our play and improve, if we can," he asserted.
"It’s good to start this way as we do not know what will happen in the next few months. Maybe some players will get injured, tired or anything [something else].”
A dejected Warriors coach V.Selvaraj acknowledged that his team did not play to their best, but felt that a defeat at this early juncture was better than one during the latter stages of the campaign.
“It’s better to lose now than later," he said. "Definitely, the team were not defending the crosses properly [for the goals] but we started the game well and scored the opening goal.
“They [Tanjong Pagar] were fast and quick down the flanks but by the time we adjusted ourselves in the game, they were 3-1 up in the game.”
Rookie left-back Zakir Samsudin showed his inexperience in the match as he was beaten time and again down his flank, but Selvaraj refused to single the 19-year old out for blame.
“Zakir is very young and still learning but he showed lots of potential," he pointed out.
"We should reflect after this [defeat] and see where we went wrong.”
Tanjong Pagar will next welcome Harimau Muda at the Queenstown Stadium on March 5, while the Warriors will travel to Padang, Indonesia for their AFC Cup Group E opener against Semen Padang on the same night.