Safra Tampines - FAA All Stars held newly crowned Division 9 champions Paix FC to a draw after the boys threw away a two goal lead before having to comeback to earn a 3-3 draw. This result kept up the pace with second place earning a four-game unbeaten run.
The boys started this game with an added incentive to beat Paix FC after an equally heated game in the first round when the boys went down 3-1. FAA All Stars got the first goal unexpectedly against the champions with a fluke touch when P Saravanan got lucky when he put pressure on the goalkeeper as he chased down the ball before the keeper's clearance. The poor clearance hit the back of Saravanan and rolled harmlessly into the back of the net.
If the first goal had 'fluke' written all over it, the second goal came a few minutes later had craft stamped on it when a well worked set piece with the stability of the opposition goalkeeper coming into question as a freekick came from the left flank by Firman Noorkim saw Aarulselven running in with a deft touch to put off the goalkeeper who dived in the wrong direction.
The two-goal lead saw the boys defending valiantly with the expected pressure coming from the superior Paix FC. With not much creativity and opening from the opponent, the boys were able to contain the attacks of Paix FC, leaving them frustrated for most of the half.
Second half break down
The second half saw a break down in defence as Paix FC pushed up a gear and got a goal back almost immediately after kick off due to a poor ball controlling from goalkeeper, Wan Shaifulrezza, when he took too long on the ball allowing the striker to come in to steal the ball to poke it into the empty net.
The early setback in the second forty minutes hit the boys hard in confidence as the goal galvanised the fighting spirit of the Paix FC players as the team pressed higher up with intelligent runs to exploit the five-men back line of FAA.
The midfield and back line were soon overwhelmed, defending desperately to maintain the advantage. A lucky break for Paix FC caught the the defence out when a through ball released the left winger to rundown the flank before hitting a cross which went looping over stand-in goalkeeper, Coach Kelvyn after a knock suffered by Wan Shaifulrezza forced the changes, saw the ball dipped into the goal.
Another goal from Paix FC saw the champions grabbing the lead and seemingly threatened to race away from the game.
In the 67th minute, euphoria struck the boys when Aarulselven was fouled outside the box. Coach Khairullah hit a thunderbolt of a free kick as the ball was struck from 30 yards away into the top corner of the goal, to a huge celebration from the FAA stand and players.
The last key incident saw a brilliant last minute save by Coach Kelvyn when a free kick from the FAA left flank found a Paix player who headed the ball destined into the bottom corner of the goal, but sudden change in direction saw coach Kelvyn having to dive across goal to push the ball away, much to the relieve of the academy side.
The last minute intervention earned a credible draw against the champions who played a great campaign and kept up their unbeaten season.
MOTM: Hikaru Marutani, the unsung hero through the game was a work horse in defence, going around doing his part with no complains. He stepped up to the plate in a very difficult game against a very strong team.