By FOX Sports staff
Despite finishing bottom of the table for the last three campaigns, the Rams boldly proclaimed in pre-season that this year would see a resurgence in their fortunes, with coach Salim Moin revealing a top-three target for his charges.
Four minutes into the game at the Woodlands Stadium, they had an excellent chance to open the scoring after Shi Jiayi was adjudged to have fouled Ang Zhiwei inside the area, but Moon Soon-ho spurned the opportunity by firing his effort back off the post after sending Hassan Sunny the wrong way.
Nonetheless, the Rams were not to be denied and duly took the lead in the 28th minute when Moon made amends for his earlier miss, firing home into an unguarded net after Hassan had made a smart save to deny Khalid Hamdaoui.
But eight minutes after the hour mark, the Warriors pulled level when Abdil Qaiyyim did well down the right to release Sakurada, who whipped the ball into the box for Sufian Anuar to head home.
However, it took Woodlands just four minutes to reclaim the lead after Chang Jo-yoon took a quick freekick after being fouled by Marin Vidosevic and delivered it into the path of Hamdaoui, who made no mistake it slotting past Hassan.
Salim's charges had managed to win just three games all season long in 2012 but they looked on track to rack up their first of the new season, until six minutes from time, when a tantalising freekick from Tatsuro Inui caused pandemonium inside the opposition area before the ball was eventually bundled over the line, with the goal ultimately credited to Sakurada.
Over at Bishan Stadium, Home United dominated proceedings against DPMM FC but failed to find the finishing touch in front of goal as both sides played out a 0-0 draw.
On Wednesday, defending champions Tampines Rovers got their title defence up and running with an emphatic 5-0 win over Eastern derby rivals Geylang International at the Bedok Stadium.
After Sead Hadzibulic had opened the scoring in the 9th minute, the Stags added two more in the first half through Shaiful Esah and Firdaus Kasman to grab a commanding lead at the break.
Geylang briefly threatened at the start of the second half and both Jozef Kaplan and Shotaro Ihata wasted good chances to get their side back into the game, and they were ultimately made to pay as Jamil Ali added a fourth shortly after the hour mark, before Khairul Amri came off the bench to make it 5-0 in the 82nd minute.
Hougang United also got their campaign off to a winning start after seeing off Courts Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium, with centre-back Syaqir Sulaiman netting the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute.
Thursday's Great Eastern-YEO's S.League Results
Woodlands Wellington 2-2 Warriors FC
Wednesday's Great Eastern-YEO's S.League Results
Image courtesy of Warriors FC