Dominant Warriors see off Young Lions

Warriors FC recorded their second win of the 2013 Great Eastern-YEO's S.League campaign on Thursday after cruising to a 3-0 win over Courts Young Lions.

Warriors FC
Gabriel Tan

By Gabriel Tan

Reporting from the Choa Chu Kang Stadium

Erwan Gunawan put Warriors ahead after just 11 minutes when he fired home from inside the area, before he doubled his and his side's tally two minutes before the break with an emphatic finish.

The hosts continued to dominate proceedings in the second half and although they created a host of scoring opportunities, they were only able to add one more through a long-range strike from Tatsuro Inui in the 65th minute.

But although his side could have won by a far bigger margin, Warriors coach V. Selvaraj will be heartened by the fact they managed to pick up only their second win of the year.

And against a struggling Young Lions side who are yet to pick up a point this season, the signs certainly looked good early on as they started brightly, carving the opposition defence apart for the first time in the 7th minute when Ruzaini Zainal bombed down the right and laid the ball back to Erwan, whose low cross was desperately cleared by Sheikh Abdul Hadi before the waiting duo of Sufian Anuar and Mislav Karoglan could pounce.

Three minutes later, they looked destined to score Karoglan raced onto an incisive through-ball by Sufian and skipped past the onrushing Rudy Khairullah, only for the recovering Sufianto Salleh to nip the ball off his toes just as he was about to fire into the unguarded net.

But from the resultant corner, the Warriors duly took the lead after the visitors failed to deal with Inui's initial delivery, allowing the ball to be sent back into the box where - after a brief scramble - it fell at the feet of Erwan, who lashed into the back of the net.

The Young Lions then had a chance to equalise in the 20th minute when Tajeli Salamat met a loose ball on the edge of the area and unleashed a left-footed drive that sailed just wide of the bottom corner, but the hosts continued to create one chance after another; Ruzaini charging down the right once more and whipping in a dangerous cross that was just cleared before it could reach Sufian.

Six minutes later, Sufian, who was beginning to cause all sorts of problems with his strength and tireless running, broke the offside trap but was unable to keep his shot down, but two minutes before the break, the Warriors found themselves two up.

There appeared to be no apparent danger when a long ball was sent deep into the Young Lions half but Ruzaini refused to give up on a lost cause and kept the ball in before laying it back to Erwan. His first shot was parried by Rudy but the rebound fell straight back into his path, and he made no mistake in blasting his follow-up effort into the top corner.

Three minutes into the second half, more industrious play by Ruzaini nearly led to a third when he drilled a cross into the box that was deflected to Inui, but the Japanese failed to get enough purchase on his strike and allowed Rudy to gather comfortably.

By now, chances for the visitors were at a premium but centre-back Eddie Chang did have a chance to pull one back against his old side in the 52nd minute when a corner was half-cleared to him at the back post, but he could only watch on as his fierce drive was beaten away by Hassan Sunny.

Shortly after, Karoglan and Sufian both had chances to grab the Warriors' third; the former cutting in from the right and unleashing a piledriver just over, before his strike partner had a shot blocked after Inui had cut the ball back to him.

Right on the hour mark, it looked as though Young Lions would grab a goal against the run of play when Shamil Sharif broke free down the right and picked out substitute Fareez Farhan inside the area, but his goal-bound shot was well blocked by a brave Abdil Qaiyyim.

Two minutes later, it was Shamil's turn to waste a gilt-edged opportunity when he sent a strike on the rebound over from 12 yards out, after Hassan had produced a flying save to parry an angled drive from Sherif El-Masri.

But any hopes of a stirring comeback from the visitors were well and truly ended in the 65th minute although fingers will be pointed at Rudy, after he left just enough of a gap at his near post and allowed Inui to send a 25-yard drive from the left wing straight into the back of the net.

The Warriors were then unlucky not to add a fourth 11 minutes later when Karoglan turned sharply on the edge of the area before playing a neat pass to Prakash Manikam, whose low shot had Rudy beaten but came back off the foot of the post.

Two minutes from time, they had one final chance after Karoglan beat Sufianto to a long ball from Daniel Bennett and raced towards goal before trying to bend one into the far corner, but on this occasion, Rudy was equal to the task and pulled off a smart save.

Nonetheless, the Warriors ultimately did enough to pick up a much-needed three points, which will come as a welcome boost ahead of next Tuesday's must-win AFC Cup Group E game at Churchill Brothers.

In Thursday's other game, Harimau Muda held Balestier Khalsa to a 0-0 draw at the Pasir Gudang Corporation Stadium.

Warriors FC: Hassan Sunny, Ruzaini Zainal, Abdil Qaiyyim, Daniel Bennett, Syaiful Iskandar, Erwan Gunawan (Hafsyar Farkhan 76'), Shukor Zailan, Shimpei Sakurada, Tatsuro Inui (Prakash Manikam 66'), Sufian Anuar (Dharham Aziz 85'), Mislav Karoglan.

Courts Young Lions: Rudy Khairullah, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Eddie Chang (Emmeric Ong 60'), Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Sufianto Salleh, Tajeli Salamat, Afiq Noor, Faiz Salleh (Ignatius Ang 69'), Shamil Sharif, Nur Ridho (Fareez Farhan 46'), Sherif El-Masri.

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