Unlucky Warriors begin with loss under Weaver

Warriors FC began life under Alex Weaver with a defeat after falling to a 1-0 loss to Tampines Rovers in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League on Friday evening.

Tampines Rovers vs Warriors FC: Jamil Ali
Gabriel Tan

By Gabriel Tan

Reporting from the Jalan Besar Stadium

In a tepid encounter at the Jalan Besar Stadium between two of Singapore's traditional heavyweights, Jamil Ali scored the only goal of the game in the 55th minute leave the Warriors winless in their last seven games in all competition.

The result also helped Tampines stay two points clear at the top of the table while their opponents remain second from bottom, but the gap between the two sides was not apparent given the way the contest unfolded.

Although Weaver had been appointed as the successor to V. Selvaraj two weeks ago, Friday's game marked the first time he was sat in the Warriors dugout.

His presence certainly seemed to have a positive effect as it was the designated visitors who started the stronger of the two sides but neither were able to carve out a real clear-cut opportunity until the half-hour mark, when Warriors winger Tatsuro Inui burst past Kunihiro Yamashita down the left and played in a good cross that was destined to find the unmarked Mislav Karoglan, until Seiji Kaneko weighed in with a vital intervention.

Four minutes later, Inui whipped in a freekick to Vidosevic but he was unable to steer a difficult header wide, before the Croatian centre-back sent a glancing header inches wide shortly after being picked out by another excellent set-piece delivery from his Japanese team-mate.

Inui continued to pose a real threat to Tampines following the break and he came extremely close to breaking the deadlock in the 51st minute; breaking free inside the area and blasting a ferocious effort towards goal that forced Andre Martins into a fine a save.

And four minutes later, the Stags goalkeeper's contribution proved vital when his side took the lead after Fahrudin Mustafic floated a glorious ball over the top, allowing Jamil Ali to nip in ahead of Abdil Qaiyyim before emphatically firing past Hassan Sunny.

Two minutes before the hour mark, Martins however made an error when he spilled Shi Jiayi's 35-yard drive and it was pounced on by Prakash Manikam, but his blushes were spared as the Warriors man was only able to fire into the sidenetting from an acute angle.

With their opponents clearly looking dangerous every time they pushed forward, Tampines began to show more initiative in their bid to find a second goal to kill off the contest and Diogo Caramelo and Shahdan Sulaiman both played defence-splitting passes to release Aleksandar Duric shortly after, only for the 42-year-old to be halted by the linesman's flag.

As the game wore on, it looked increasingly like that the points headed to the Stags as their opponents started to run out of ideas, but seven minutes from time, they had one final chance when Daniel Bennett broke into the area and played the ball to Shi, but his shot was well charged down before Martins could be tested.

As the clocked ticked over into injury time, Vidosevic left his frustration get the better of him as he needlessly clattered into the back of Caramelo and was handed his second booking, capping off a difficult day for his side.

In Friday's other game at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, Albirex Niigata (S)  recorded a 2-0 victory over DPMM FC thanks to second-half goals from Kazuki Sakamoto and Masatake Sato.

Tampines Rovers: Andre Martins, Ruzaini Zainal, Kunihiro Yamashita, Seiji Kaneko, Jufri Taha, Firdaus Kasman (Shannon Stephen 78'), Fahrudin Mustafic, Shahdan Sulaiman, Jamil Ali (Vitor Ladeiras 64'), Ahmed Fahmie (Diogo Caramelo 36'), Aleksandar Duric.

Warriors FC: Hassan Sunny, Jeremy Chiang (Daniel Bennett 67'), Abdil Qaiyyim, Marin Vidosevic, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Shi Jiayi, Kazuyuki Toda, Hafsyar Farkhan, Tatsuro Inui, Prakash Manikam (Shimpei Sakurada 59'), Mislav Karoglan (Sufian Anuar 72').

Attendance: 1,127

Image courtesy of FAS (Justin Qian)

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