Tampines Rovers vs Ceres La Salle FC
(Sunday, 21 August, 7.30pm, Jurong West Stadium)
Written by: Rashid Sulaiman
Tampines Rovers will be looking to get back to winning ways following their defeat to Hougang United in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League as they host Ceres La Salle FC in the RHB Singapore Cup semi-finals first leg match at the Jurong West Stadium on Sunday night.
The Stags went down 2-1 in that match which allowed Albirex Niigata (S) to extend their lead at the top to four points. Coach Akbar Nawaz took full responsibility for that loss and wants his players to focus on their opponents, the Busmen from the Philippines.
“We were riding on our luck the last couple of games and I think it is good to flush out, look for what is going wrong and get ready for the next game,” said Akbar who is known for his offensive strategy which at times exposed his backline to counter-attacks.
“We have been talking about it ever since I took over (from V.Sundramoorthy), but when you take risks, you will be susceptible for some kind of attacks by the opponents,” explained Akbar on his attacking tactics.
Akbar will be hoping that his star-player Jermaine Pennant will be available for this tie as his presence was sorely missed by the team in their last match. Also doubtful for the semi-final match is midfielder Fabian Kwok.
Over to the Filipino outfit, they failed to pick up maximum points in their previous two matches, a 2-2 draw to Stallion FC last week and a 2-1 reverse to Green Archers United earlier in the month.
They made the final four stage after seeing off Brunei DPMM 5-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile Tampines defeated another Philippines club in the quarters, a 5-2 win over Global FC over two legs.
Stags and the Busmen are no strangers to each other as they have met twice in the AFC Cup group stage.
The first match at the Jalan Besar Stadium ended in 1-1 draw with Hafiz Sujad scoring for the home side while Adrian Gallardo netting the equaliser late in the game. Ceres won the second match played in Bacalod 2-1, with Bienvenido Morejon and Gallardo scoring a goal each from the penalty spot in the first half while Billy Mehmet reduced the deficit after the break.