Young Tigers fight hard to make Plate

The Malaysian side had to come from behind to beat their amateur league opponents to earn a spot in the Plate

The StarHub League Cup Group stages resumed at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday with National Football League (NFL) side Admiralty FC going up against Harimau Muda of the S.League.

The amateur team put up a tough fight against the Young Tigers, but eventually came up short in a 2-1 defeat.

Andrew Hutcheon broke the deadlock in the first half but his goal was cancelled out by a strike from Iskandar Hanapiah. Faizat Ghazali then headed home the winner for his side in the 63rd minute to knock Admiralty out from the competition.

Despite losing their first two games, both sides still had a Plate Competition spot to fight for.

The Malaysian boys started on the back foot as Admiralty pressed high and surprisingly had most of the possession.

The amateur side could have easily gone two goals up in the first five minutes due to poor marking by captain Nashriq Yahya.

Hutcheon then opened the scoring at the seven-minute mark when the Harimau Muda defence was caught napping for the umpteenth time as he snuck through and slotted home from close range.

The Young Tigers had nothing much to show for upfront as Daniel Hammond was a solid rock in the heart of the Admiralty defence.

Their first good chance at goal came in the 39th minute when Hanif Dzahir latched onto a pass a few metres from the penalty box. His low, hard drive forced a save from Siddiq Durimi, who could only palm the ball away. Luckily for him, there were no Harimau Muda players to pounce on the loose ball.

Two minutes later against the run of play, Iskandar snatched the equaliser after he slammed home a rocket of a shot from 25 yards out that left the goalkeeper with no chance.

The second period saw better defending from both teams and the game ended up being rather cagey.

Seven minutes in, Syawal Nordin’s snapshot with his outer foot swerved inches over the bar.

The Young Tigers pressed on and seconds after another defensive blunder that almost cost them another goal, Faizat headed his side 2-1 up at the opposite end.

Admiralty then sent Hammond and John Spackman forward to help get the goals and as the amateur side grew desperate, the tackles got harder and the Young Tigers were involved in some tough challenges.

In the 71st minute, Spackman and Hammond’s presence in the Harimau Muda penalty area made it difficult for the Malaysians but fortunately for them, Spackman mis-kicked his shot.

They came close four minutes from time but skipper K. Sathiaraj’s shot from just inside the box was directly at Ramdhan Hamid.

The last chance for the NFL side was taken by none other than Spackman, who was allowed acres of space to time his shot. However, the centre half sent his effort millimetres over the bar, ending any hopes of the Wolves progressing in the tournament.

Harimau Muda held on for the 2-1 win and will join third-placed teams from other groups in the Plate.