By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
Reporting from the Queenstown Stadium
In a match that promised plenty given it pitted the last season's winners against one of the in-form sides in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League, it was Tanjong Pagar who took the lead after just three minutes when Hafiz Nor latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the area and drilled his shot past Wardun Yussof.
Two minutes before the half-hour mark, the hosts doubled their tally with a sweeping counterattack; Zahid Ahmad breaking free down the left and releasing Sazali Salleh, who advanced into the box before crossing to leave Monsef Zerka with a simple tap-in.
But two minutes after halftime, DPMM pulled one when Ahmad Latiff's clearance was charged down and fell into the path of Joao Moreira, who coolly slid the ball past the onrushing Herisson and into the far corner.
The Portuguese striker then turned provider in the 55th minute when he broke free down the middle and played the ball through to Arturas Rimkevicius, who stabbed his effort past the line despite Anthony Aymard's best efforts to keep it out.
Having seen their comfortable lead vanish before their very eyes, Tanjong Pagar then had an excellent chance to edge ahead once more three minutes after the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty after Ahmad Latiff had been felled by Tales dos Santos inside the area, only for Zerka to screw his shot wide.
And a minute later, they were made to pay for that miss after Moreira picked up possession outside the area and proceeded to curl a sublime effort into the top corner to put the visitors 3-2 ahead, before Rimkevicius grabbed a second of his own in the 68th minute; meeting Dos Santos' flick-on header and nodding the ball into the back of the net from a yard out.
DPMM were then awarded a penalty of their own two minutes later when Rimkevicius was about to break through until he was hauled back by Walid Lounis, who received a straight red for the foul. Unlike Zerka, Moreira made no mistake in sending Herisson the wrong way to complete his hat-trick and put his side 5-2 up.
Although the win was now in the bag, DPMM's fine evening was slightly tarnished nine minutes from time after substitute Sairol Sahari managed to pick up two bookings within four minutes of coming on, and joined Lounis for an early shower.
Moments later, Tanjong Pagar coach Patrick Vallee allowed his frustration at seeing his side throw away a winning position boil over and was sent off by referee Taqi Jahari, wrapping up a miserable outing for his side.
Standing in between DPMM and a place in the final are Woodlands Wellington, who booked their place in the last four with a 4-1 penalty shootout win over Geylang International after both sides played out a 0-0 draw at the Bedok Stadium.
Tanjong Pagar United: Aurelien Herisson, Ahmad Latiff, Walid Lounis, Anthony Aymard, Zahid Ahmad, Hanafi Salleh, John Wilkinson (Asraf Rashid 74'), Sazali Salleh, Hafiz Nor, Ismael Benahmed, Monsef Zerka.
DPMM FC: Wardun Yussof, Shahrulrizal Abd Rahman, Tales dos Santos (Helmi Zambin 90'), Pg Sallehuddin Damit, Subhi Abdilah, Hendra Azam (Arturas Rimkevicius 33'), Rosmin Kamis, Azwan Saleh, Rodrigo Tosi, Joao Moreira (Sairol Sahari 77'), Shahrazen Said.
Image courtesy of Tanjong Pagar United FC