Zerka at the double as Tanjong Pagar close in

Monsef Zerka was on target twice on Sunday as Tanjong Pagar United recorded a 3-2 win at Woodlands Wellington to close in on the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League summit.

Monsef Zerka, Tanjong Pagar United
Gabriel Tan

By Gabriel Tan

Reporting from the Woodlands Stadium

It took the visitors just three minutes to open the scoring when John Wilkinson forced his way down the right and into the box before chipping a neat cross to the back post, allowing Zerka to send a simple header into the back of the net.

Woodlands were unlucky not to equalise four minutes later when Moon Soon-ho went on a determined run and squared the ball to Theeraweekin Seehawong, but he was only able to send his shot into the post.

The hosts then threatened again in the 25th minute when Rosman Sulaiman pushed forward down the left and floated a cross into the box, but Chang Jo-yoon could only send his header straight at Aurelien Herisson.

And right on the half-hour mark, the Jaguars doubled their lead when Hafiz Nor's corner sailed into a sea of players and was bundled home by Kamel Ramdani.

The same routine worked a treat again just seven minutes later when another tempting set-piece delivery by Hafiz found Zerka's darting run, and the Morocco international made no mistake in nodding past Yazid Yasin.

Just before halftime, Zerka could easily have completed his hat-trick when a loose ball fell into his path inside the area, but Yazid rushed out well and made himself big to deny the Jaguars marksman from point-blank range.

Despite now needing a minor miracle if they were to rescue anything from the game, Woodlands refused to give up and pulled one back on the hour mark when Rosman's left-wing cross was met at the near post by Chang, who steered the ball past Herisson with a deft volley.

But try as they might, the Rams were just unable to find another until injury-time when Chang received the ball inside the area and lashed a lovely first-time shot into the far corner.

However, it was too little too late by then as Tanjong Pagar held on for the win to move two points behind second-placed Albirex Niigata (S).

Woodlands Wellington: Yazid Yasin, Ang Zhiwei, Shariff Samat (Fadhil Noh 81'), Shahril Alias, Rosman Sulaiman, Cho Sung-hwan, Atsushi Shimono, Armanizam Dolah (Oswind Suriya 31'), Theeraweekin Seehawong, Moon Soon-ho, Chang Jo-yoon.

Tanjong Pagar United: Aurelien Herisson, K. Vikraman, Ahmad Latiff, Anthony Aymard, Zahid Ahmad, Hanafi Salleh, John Wilkinson, Hafiz Nor (Azhar Ahmad 57'), Kamel Ramdani, Ismael Benahmed, Monsef Zerka.

Image courtesy of Tanjong Pagar United FC

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