Bacina satisfied with Tampines effort

Despite a slender win, Nenad Bacina was pleased with Tampines Rovers' performance in Thursday’s Great Eastern-YEO’s S.League game against Geylang International.

The veteran helping out in defence...
Alison Chin

By Alison Chin

Fans that turned up at the Clementi Stadium expecting a repeat of the goal fest that took place in the reverse fixture left disappointed, as a solitary strike from Jamil Ali settled matters in favour of Tampines.

Nevertheless, Bacina told reporters after the game that three points was all that mattered to him, though he conceded that the Stags should have been more clinical in the second period.

"There were not many goals, but one goal is enough. I am very proud. I have to congratulate my players, and at the same time I have to congratulate Geylang because they came here to play football," Bacina noted.

"It was an open game from both sides. We dominated slightly in terms of possession in the second half, but we were not penetrative enough. After we scored the winning goal, we had a few counter attacks, which we should have finished. But at the same time, Geylang is a good side, so we were not expecting an easy game tonight [Thursday]. A win against Geylang was more important for us."

Eagles skipper Josef Kaplan was heavily involved in the first half, and Bacina admitted that he adjusted his game plan in the second period to nullify the Slovakian's threat.

"We knew before the game that Kaplan was the runner-up top scorer last year, a good, hardworking player who will never give up. The second-half we tried to close him down a bit and we tried to cut off the link between Kaplan and other players," Bacina shared.

"At the same time, we introduced Shahdan [Sulaiman], so we got more possession and controlled the game. Yesterday [Wednesday] was his first [training] session after eight days, so he started from bench tonight [Thursday]. We were not expecting much from him. He's the one who made the link between midfield and attack."

The loss to the Stags was a difficult one to swallow for Geylang head coach V. Kanan, who felt his team had done enough to secure a point away from home.

"I think a draw would have been a better result. I think my boys, who are young, played very well. We gave them a good fight. We were beaten 5-0 previously, and today was a totally different game. We could have won. We had chances in the first half, but they only played on the counter attack and put in long balls. Other than that, our young boys held on to the ball very well, created chances," Kanan pointed out.

"At the end of the day, they were too powerful. They have players in every department to win the match for them, which is the difference. We had chances but we couldn't score. I am very disappointed with the result. I thought we would go back with at least a point, but credit to the players, I think they did extremely well. Looking at both squads, I think the boys a good account of themselves."

Tampines Rovers are in action again this weekend, contesting their rearranged fixture against Hougang United, while Geylang welcome Balestier to Bedok Stadium in one week's time.

Image courtesy of VOXSPORTS (Darren Ho)



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