Safra Tampines - FAA bailed out of trouble to win 6-4 to steer clear of Westlanders United who was a point behind FAA in the league before kickoff. It was a thrilling game from the first whistle when Irfan Fandi put the team ahead in the 4th minute when a looping through ball from midfield released Irfan on goal before lobbing the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper into an empty net.
Poor defending saw Westlanders pull back immediately when a goalmouth melee allowed an unmarked striker to strike from close range. Another goal from Irfan in the 10th minute, when Rohit won the header in midfield found Danish whose through ball, saw Aarul charging forward for a shot, his effort was blocked by the goalkeeper onto Irfan’s path who could make no mistake from 8 yards out. A rare goal from Coach Tan Liyu whose looping shot found the net helped extend the home side’s lead. The determined Westlanders pressed on to reduce their deficit and got lucky when a long shot straight at goalkeeper was fumbled by Wan Shaifulrezza, allowing the opposition striker to follow up the rebound.
Irfan completed his hat-trick before half time and a controversial decision saw a marvelous goal from Rohit Bhojwani chalked off due to an unauthorized substitution taking place prior to the goal without the referee’s noticed. Despite a disallowed goal, the score line saw the boys going into the break in a comfortable position.
The second half saw Ikhsan Fandi come on as a substitute to make history as the youngest player to feature in the senior side at the age of 13 years old. The boys continued their fine scoring form in the game and took a three goal lead in the 60th minute when a low cross from the right saw Coach Danial play a dummy to let the ball through for Rohit who rounded the keeper to score his first goal of the season. A twenty minute spell of dominance from Westlanders saw them claw back two goals, asking questions on the FAA backline with diagonal balls over the defence allowing their pacey wingers to run at the fullbacks of Ashok Kumar and Fikri Rukaini.
The defining goal that sealed victory came from an inspired source in the form of P. Saravanan, who dedicated his first goal of the season to his late mom on Mother’s day. With minutes left to play, a corner from the right flank saw Coach Khairullah attacking the ball at pace to head towards the bottom corner only to find a Westlander player clearing off the line. The resulting half clearance saw Saravanan the nearest man to tap in from close range to the ecstasy of his teammates who went up to celebrate his first goal for the senior side.
MOTM: Irfan Fandi & Rohit Bhojwani, this award was a tough choice between Rohit Bhojwani and Irfan Fandi as their all round performance in this game was key contribution to the victory. Irfan showed how badly he was missed in last weekend’s defeat by getting his second hat-trick of the season. Rohit, a constant performer week in, week out, should have gotten two goals to his name and proving to be a cornerstone to his team’s play.
For all FAA All Stars fixtures, results and league table, please click here.
Brief description: The FAA All Stars is fully sponsored by the Fandi Ahmad Academy where the best of the A-15 players are selected to represent in the league. While the academy will try its best to give all players equal playing chance there is also a need to maintain the balance and strength of the team. No player is guaranteed a place in the team and everyone should work hard in the training session and strive to be selected.