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  • March 29, 2013
  • • 21:15
  • • Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
  • Referee: A. Bin Abdul Bashir

Mustafic spot-kick settles lively encounter between Protectors and Stags

Mustafic spot-kick settles lively encounter between Protectors and Stags

Stanford Sng

Home United had dominated the match with attack after attack, but succumbed to a spot-kick eventually as the defending champions kept up their perfect start to the season

By Eddie Ridzwan

Tampines Rovers continued their title charge with a narrow 1-0 win in a lively Friday night encounter against Home United. The win ensured that the defending champions stay at the summit of the S.League table, with six victories on the trot.

The game was delayed by almost two hours due to the lightning warning system being triggered, but the crowd were rewarded for their patience by a great display of attacking football from Home, who took little time to get into the game.

Tampines custodian Sasa Dreven was first called into action in the ninth minute when he was on hand to repel a stinging Masato Fukui freekick, with the rebound subsequently cleared by Kunihiro Yamashita.

The next best chance saw Jordan Webb bursting into the penalty area after a neat pass by Indra Sahdan put him through in the 11th minute, but the Canadian could only fire his shot into the side-netting.

The Stags' first chance came in the 20th minute when Seiji Kaneko connected with a Shahdan Sulaiman freekick, nodding the ball wide of the post.

Home continued to dominate proceedings as Tampines slowly got a grip on the game, before the half time whistle was blown.

The Protectors continued the second half where they left off in the first, with Indra sidefooting wide a cross from Webb, who had shrugged off his marker on the left.

The Tampines supporters were sent into raptures slightly past the hour mark when Kaneko’s goalbound header was blocked on the line by Firdaus Idros. The midfielder was adjudged to have used his hand and the referee signalled a penalty, before flashing a straight red to the 27-year-old.

Mustafic Fahrudin stepped up against Home goalkeeper Shahril Jantan, and the Tampines skipper coolly slotted the ball through the middle to break the deadlock.

With the lead and a numerical advantage, the Stags then sought to stamp their authority on the game.

Sead Hadzibulic’s looping header narrowly fizzled past the goal frame in the 70th minute, after good work by Shahdan on the right side to put the cross in.

Home almost got a deserved equalizer in the 81st minute when an early cross by Sirina Camara was pushed wide by Webb, but the lone goal by Mustafic eventually proved enough for Tampines to collect their sixth straight win of the season.