The first half of the 2012 S-League season drew to a close last week with Brunei DPMM topping the table at the half-way mark on 29 points, while Home United are five points adrift in second place. Tanjong Pagar extended their winning run to three games with a 1-0 victory over Woodlands and the Young Lions pulled off an impressive 2-0 win against Hougang, but the result of the week had to be Geylang coming back from two goals down to draw with SAFFC.
Takuma Ito performed heroics in goal as his Albirex side scraped a 1-0 win at against Gombak. He single-handedly preserved his team’s lead by pulling off great saves, especially in the closing fifteen minutes, with one in injury-time from Walid Lounis proving to be vital. Meanwhile, Sho Kamimura was a constant thorn down the right with his penetrating runs as he tore apart the Bulls’ defence. It was his cross-shot which resulted in Toshizaku Soya’s goal, as it came off the latter and found the back of the net for the winning goal.
Firdaus Idros and Frederic Mendy may have got the goals in Home’s 3-1 win over Young Lions, but Nor Azli Yusoff was a real star at right-back at the other end as the tenacious full-back went about his job efficiently, shutting out star winger Sherif El-Masri. Hafiz Osman proved unbeatable at the back, dominating in the air as well as on the ground, as Tanjong Pagar held on after the dismissal of Jonathan Xu in the second half to hold on to a slim 1-0 victory at Woodlands Wellington. Leftback by trade, Nurullah Hussein did an adequate job on the left side of midfield despite it not being his natural position, putting in a good shift even as his side lost against Albirex.
The Young Lions pair of Faris Ramli and Sherif El-Masri have been key in the team’s recent run of good results, as they followed up a credible draw against Albirex with a well-deserved victory at Hougang. Impressing with their trickery down the flanks, both wingers also showed they had a good understanding by combining for the latter’s second goal against Hougang, as a searching ball from Faris found El-Masri, who finished with aplomb.
Leading by example, Brunei DPMM captain Rosmin Kamis dominated the midfield and hardly allowed the lightweight Balestier midfield pairing of Muhaymin Salim and Park Kang Jin any time on the ball. He was a major reason why DPMM managed to find their way back into the game in a come-from-behind 3-1 win.
Erwan Gunawan caused no end of trouble for the Geylang United defence and had a hand in SAFFC’s opening goal as both sides played out a 2-2 draw. It was not surprising that SAFFC didn’t create much after he went off, as the Warriors let slip a two-goal lead. The equalising goal was scored by 19 year-old Amy Recha, who had only come off the bench six minutes earlier. Showing composure beyond his age, he finished perfectly by clipping the ball over the onrushing Shahril Jantan after reacting quickest to get onto the end of a botched headed clearance by Eddie Chang.
Often called upon from the bench to make an impact, Jamil Ali proved that he was no less effevtive as when he starts during Tampines’ 3-2 win over Harimau Muda. He earned a penalty which Fahrudin Mustafic converted for the equaliser and scored the winner with a superb solo effort twelve minutes from time as the Stags emerged victorious in a see-saw match.
Terry Pathmanathan is our coach of the week for a third consecutive time, after continuing his side’s mini-revival by orchestrating three successive 1-0 wins, the latest one over Woodlands, despite his side being forced to play with ten men for much of the second half. The Jaguars have now climbed to eighth in the table after being bottom for the first few weeks, and he will hope that they can keep up the good performances when the second half of the season resumes.
Team of the week (3-4-3):
Goalkeeper: Takuma Ito (Albirex)
Defender: Nor Azli Yusoff (Home)
Defender: Hafiz Osman (Tanjong Pagar)
Defender: Nurullah Hussein (Gombak)
Midfielder: Erwan Gunawan (SAFFC)
Midfielder: Rosmin Kamis (DPMM)
Midfielder: Faris Ramli (Young Lions)
Midfielder: Sherif El-Masri (Young Lions)
Forward: Sho Kamimura (Albirex)
Forward: Amy Recha (Geylang)
Forward: Jamil Ali (Tampines)
Coach: Terry Pathmanathan (Tanjong Pagar)