Safra Tampines - FAA All Stars continue their winning ways and go five matches unbeaten after another narrow escape after throwing a three-goal lead to win 4-3 in a late, nervous ending.
It was a tough game for the boys, having to play under the scorching hot sun without any match trainings the day before. Without a proper and thorough warm-up, the boys kicked-off the opening proceedings with some good understanding and camaraderie in play, holding onto the possession well with the experienced Coach Tan Liyu holding the fort in midfield.
Playing with a back five, the team was able to thwart the attack from Royals FC. But a lack of concentration in the back line saw last man, Coach Kelvyn committing early and got beaten by the Royals' target man, running towards goal before setting up the ball nicely for his strike partner to tap the ball in easily.
The setback galvanised the team and the boys responded well, getting themselves on level terms with Roit Bhojwani scoring the equalizer from a free kick after Aarulselven was fouled just outside the box.
Rohit calmly hit the ball over the wall before dipping nicely into the net, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to his spot.
The scoreline soon changed in the 31st minute credit to the Rohit and Aarul show with the former putting a weighted through ball to Aarul to skip past the offside trap to slot the ball past the goalkeeper in an one-on-one situation.
A different story from when they started out, FAA All Stars went into the break with the lead.
Foot off the pedal
Both sides came out for the second half knowing the next goal will change the game pressed on and FAA got the better of things when they extended the lead when a great ball from Aarul got deflected by a trailing leg allowing Rohit to sprint past his marker to place the ball behind the onrushing goalkeeper.
Seeing the boys struggling to get a foothold and put up any meaningful play, Head Coach Ahmad Paijan came off the bench and played a significant role in the lead up to the foourth goal as the midfield and defence of Royals FC got caught out when a counter attack saw Ahmad Paijan sell a dummy as Rohit hit a brilliant pass to Aarulselven who could make no mistake from 12 yards out, beating the goalkeeper for the fourth time in the game.
The three-goal lead saw the team taking the foot off the pedal, which they would regret moments later when a Royals' striker dribbled past the three static blue shirts, leaving him with the easiest decision to place the ball into the bottom corner, game on.
The goal sparked Royals FC into action with the players fighting hard for the second ball; only poor communication prevented then from chomping down at the deficit. The boys could have extended the lead a few occasions with P Saravanan, Benedict Ong and Ammar Rizqullah guilty of squandering away good chances.
But the third goal came for Royals FC when failure to clear the lines saw a looping ball over a defender to their talismanic striker who was a menace throughout to run through before slotting the ball into the back of the net despite a last ditch challenge from Coach Kelvyn and goalkeeper, Syawal Said.
All hopes were gone for Royals FC when one of their players got his marching orders after a series of vulgarities were directed at the referee, who showed no hesitation in taking out the red card.
The boys did well in the end to take the three points adn reiterate their intentions to consolidate second place from APFC despite having played a game more. The unbeaten run will translate into the importance for the boys to come together in the final three games and finish their season with a runners-up medal to show for the hardwork they have produced throughout the season.
MOTM: Rohit Bhojwani & Aarulselven Tamilselven, the two showed great understanding in attack and their communication reaped rewards as the attacking display from both players were evident in the manner how the four goals were set up. Both players can know that their efforts and good chemistry on and off the pitch will be essential for the final few games as the team will want to do well to close the season with a record number of unbeaten runs.