Bacina laments fixture congestion

Opposite number Selvaraj was surprisingly satisfied with his team's efforts and took positives from the defeat while the Tampines coach remained cautious of fixtures ahead
By Khalis Rifhan
Although it was a slender 1-0 win over Warriors FC, the victory was crucial as it kept Tampines Rovers close on the heels of Albirex Niigata (S) at the top of the table. 

Former LionsXII forward Khairul Amri's strike four minutes before the half-time interval was enough to secure all three points for his team.

But it might have been a different scenario had the visitors been more clinical in front of goal and made their chances count. 

“To be honest, Tampines is a good team; comparing both teams, the chances that were created, I think we had the better chance," said Warriors coach V.Selvaraj.

"We could have been more composed in front of goal.

“I don’t think it was offside (the goal that was ruled out) as I saw Abdil (Abdil Qaiyyim) moving up only after the ball had been played. It was a bit of luck, second ball and we were too late to reach for it.” 

But Stags coach Nenad Bacina was not in the mood to agree with his counterpart as he felt his side had more opportunities on goal.

“We played well and created more chances than Warriors," was Bacina's straight response.

"Yes, in the end, they had one scoring chance. We are a bit lucky tonight because before Kari (Mislav Karoglan) hit the bar, we hit the bar as well. So I think we deserved to win.

“Maybe we are saving some goals for the next match as we are playing another game this Sunday and are expecting it to be a tough match against Harimau Muda who are young and fresh compared to us.”

But despite suffering yet another defeat in the league, Selvaraj is pleased with what he saw on the pitch with his players, especially his target-man Karoglan. 

“Slowly he (Karoglan) is getting back his confidence," explained Selvaraj.

"We have to work from here and also in training, to gain more confidence. There is more urgency now, players talking to each other in the field, even when we are one goal and one man down.

“We still fight and did not give up. I feel we were the fitter side, even though we were one man down. I see lots of positivity in this match.” 

While Bacina’s team snatched maximum points, he lamented the tight schedule his team had to go through, adding: “We knew it will be very hard tonight because it is our third game in seven days, after our AFC Cup match against Selangor and then Balestier Khalsa last week.”

“Football is all about pressure and I am taking one match at a time and trying not to change a winning team. But Jamil Ali is still receiving treatment and I definitely need to rotate some players [against Harimau Muda next] as it will be our fourth game in 12 days.”