|Photo: Chris Harvey|
Benoit Croissant 93'
Diallo Mamadou 45'
A last minute goal by Benoit Croissant may have given Tampines Rovers a point in their game against Hougang United but it was their poor finishing that will surely be the talking point among the 513 fans present for the game.
Tampines Rovers dominated the game for the last sixty minutes after Hougang United Azhar Sairudin was sent off in the 26th minutes.
Tampines Rovers Ali Hudfaizi had made a sliding tackle on Azhar Sairudin but the latter had his foot on Ali’s stomach soon after, while he jumps to avoid landing on Ali.
A mini-scuffle soon breaks out between both players but luckily it was nothing more than just a mere exchange of words and Ali Hudfaizi was also shown the yellow card for his earlier challenge.
With ten men on the field, Hougang United switch to a more defensive formation and rely on counter attack when they have possession of the ball.
Tampines Rovers was taking full advantage of having a man more than their opponents and was having shots from all angles but they somehow failed to hit the back of the net.
Their best chance in the first half came in the 41st minute. Duric had played a diagonal ball to Gligor Gligorov on his left and Gligor managed to run around the on rushing Fadhil Salim (Hougang United goalkeeper) but luckily for Hougang United, Gligor‘s shot somehow hit the post and was cleared for safety.
In the second minute of first half injury time, referee Sukhbir Singh had judged that Tampines Rovers goalkeeper, Sasa Dreven had step out of the penalty box when he took his dropkick and gave Hougang United a freekick inches outside the penalty area.
|Photo: Chris Harvey|
The second half resumes with Tampines Rovers going on the attack in search of the equalizer and they would have been left wondering whether luck was on their side as several of their shots either hit the post, went just inches wide of the goal or was cleared off the line.
In the 54th minute a freekick by Fahrudin Mustafic was cleared off the line by Hougang United goalkeeper Fadhil Salim albeit in an unorthodox fashion via his outstretch right leg.
In the 87th minute, a Hougang United defence was unable to clear the ball in the penalty box after a cross by Tampines Rovers from the left and Fahrudin Mustafic was first to pounce on the loose ball but his shot hit the right post and while substitute Fazli Zailani was able to get to follow up on the rebound, his shot in the six yards box went high into the air.
In the 92nd minute, a corner from the right for Tampines Rovers was headed towards goal by Fahrudin Mustafic and it was cleared off the line by Hougang United substitute, Ignatius Ang.
Finally the equalizer came for Tampines Rovers in the dying seconds of the game, but it was one that was without controversy.
While Fadhil Salim was attempting to clear a cross cum shot that came from his right, Basit Hamid seems to have been pushed from the back and the linesman was seen to have raised his flag but it had gone unnoticed by the referee.
The ball that Fadhil was attempting to save soon after hit the post and back out only for Benoit Croissant to head it into the back of the net for Tampines Rovers equalizer.
The linesman then brings his flag down and run towards the middle of the field in acknowledgement of the goal that referee Sukbhir Singh had given.
|Photo: Chris Harvey|
After the game, Tampines Rovers coach Steven Tan feels that the team could have gotten a better result if his players were more clinical and composed in front goal.
When asked if his team was lucky to have snatched a point at the death, Tan said that was not the case as his team had dominated the game and was pushing forward throughout the game and was keeping Hougang United defence and goalkeeper busy all night.
Steven Tan also added that maybe fatigue had a part to play regarding the wasteful chances in front of goal.
He also added that he had expected a tough game with Hougang United as he had seen how they had played in their previous matches.
Although Steven Tan would have like a win, he said that ‘….better with one point than no point.’
Nenad Bacina on the other hand was a happy man as his team finally got a point after two previous consecutive losses.
He congratulates his players for putting in a good performance and said that although his team could have gotten all three points, overall he is satisfied with the results.
Nenad also said that Tampines Rovers deserved the point too as they were attacking and pushing his team till the end.
He added that his defence one area in which needed improvements and will be working it out during training with the players.
Hougang United will next travel to the Woodlands stadium on 30th March 2012 to take on Woodlands Wellington while Tampines Rovers will meet with last season runners-up Home United on 29th March 2012 at the Jalan Besar stadium.
Tampines Rovers starting XI: Sasa Dreven (GK), Aleksander Duric (C), Ismadi Mukthar, Jufri Taha, Fahrudin Mustafic, Sazali Salleh (Ahmad Fahmie 78’), Anaz Hadee, Gligor Gligorov, Benoit Croissant, Ali Hudzaifi (Davor Piskor 46’), Jamil Ali (Fazil Zailani 27’)
Coach: Steven Tan
Hougang United starting XI: Fadhil Salim (GK), Lau Meng Meng (C), Hasree Zais, Stanislav Vidakovic, Ante Barac, Azhar Sairudin (Red Card 25’), Jordan Webb, Fazli Jaffar (Basit Hamid 84’), Faizal Amir, Mamadou Diallo (Ignatius Ang 91’), Nurhilmi Jasni (Ridhwan Osman 78’),
Coach: Nenad Bacina