Tay unhappy with Dreven display

Tampines Rovers coach Tay Peng Kee was critical of goalkeeper Sasa Dreven's display in Wednesday's 4-3 defeat to Albirex Niigata in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League.

Football News: Sasa Dreven, Albirex Niigata

By Gabriel Tan

Despite entering the game at the Clementi Stadium knowing a win would all but end their opponents' title chances, the Stags threw away a lead thrice and ended up on the losing side, after goals from Sead Hadzibulic, Ahmad Latiff and Aleksandar Duric were cancelled out by a Yasuhiro Yamakoshi hat-trick and a late tap-in from Sho Kamimura.

Yamakoshi's first goal in particular looked like it could have been avoided after Dreven completely misjudged a fairly-tame effort from the 27-year-old and allowed it to sail past him and into the back of the net, while he could also have done better for the White Swans' second and fourth strikes.

Speaking after the game, Tay refused to hold back in his assessment of the Croatian custodian's display.

"I am definitely concerned by his [Dreven's] performance," he told ESPNSTAR.com.

"Albirex only had one shot in the first half hour and yet they managed to score a goal. It's not as though the shot was headed for the top corner - it was fairly straight yet he somehow let it go through his legs.

"Unfortunately, we have no other option but to rely on him for now."

The ex-Singapore international was equally irritated by the hectic fixture schedule his side had been handed, and believes having to play four games in 12 days ultimately took its toll on his exhausted charges.

"We were just so tired tonight [Wednesday]," Tay added. "You could see in the last 20 to 30 minutes the players just couldn't run anymore.

"Even BPL [Barclays Premier League] teams do not play four games in 10 [sic] days. The FAS [Football Association of Singapore] are not doing us any favours."

Nonetheless, the Tampines boss, who took over from Steven Tan midway through the season, believes his side remain in pole position to retain the title.

"Of course we are still favourites," he declared.

"The boys are definitely disappointed with the result having tried so hard tonight [Wednesday]. To their credit, Albirex played a good game.

"However, the team spirit is still very good and the boys are still fighting very hard."

Tampines will now turn their attentions to the RHB Singapore Cup, where they face off against United Football League outfit Loyola Meralco Sparks over two legs next week.

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