Tampines charge halted by resolute Rams

Tampines Rovers' seemingly unstoppable charge to the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League title took a minor blow after they were held to a 3-3 draw by Woodlands Wellington.

Fahrudin Mustafic, Tampines Rovers

By FOX Sports staff

Heading into Thursday's game at the Woodlands Stadium with a commanding 11-point lead over second-placed Albirex Niigata (S), the Stags looked determined to edge ever closer to a third consecutive league crown.

And they certainly got off to the better start against another of the competition's in-form sides, taking the lead in the 16th minute when Aleksandar Duric latched onto Fahrudin Mustafic's pass and skipped past a couple of challenges before coolly finishing past Yazid Yasin.

But despite the Stags continuing to dominate proceedings, Woodlands equalised against the run of play four minutes before the break when Theeraweekin Seehawong played a glorious ball to release Chang Jo-yoon, whose shot deflected off Moon Soon-ho and nestled into the back of the net.

However, Tampines reclaimed the lead on the stroke of halftime when Jamil Ali went down inside the area under a challenge from Yazid and a penalty was awarded, allowing the ever-reliable Mustafic to step up and fire home.

Again, the hosts refused to back down and levelled the scores once more in the three minutes before the hour mark when Chang lined up a freekick on the edge of the area, and proceeded to send a low drive past Andre Martins and into the bottom corner.

Nine minutes later, the Stags took the lead for the third time after an effort from Duric smashed off the post but landed fortuitously into the path of Jamil, who made no mistake in firing the rebound into the back of the net.

Nonetheless, it proved to be a night where Woodlands were just not going to be denied and they earned a share of the spoils after benefitting from an error by Martins in the 82nd minute; the Portuguese goalkeeper dropping a routine catch that smashed into Shariff Samat before crossing the line.

Woodlands Wellington: Yazid Yasin, Ang Zhiwei, Shahril Alias, Shariff Samat, Rosman Sulaiman (Taufiq Rahmat 90'), Atsushi Shimono, Cho Sung-hwan, Fadhil Noh (Ridhwan Osman 82'), Theeraweekin Seehawong, Chang Jo-yoon, Moon Soon-ho.

Tampines Rovers: Andre Martins, Ruzaini Zainal, Kunihiro Yamashita, Seiji Kaneko, Jufri Taha, Fahrudin Mustafic, Shahdan Sulaiman, Firdaus Kasman (Diogo Caramelo 89'), Vitor Ladeiras (Jamil Ali 44'), Khairul Amri (Imran Sahib 70'), Aleksandar Duric.

Image courtesy of Tampines Rovers FC (BP Chua)

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