S league: Young Tigers will not be easy meat

S league: Young Tigers will not be easy meat
Harimau coach Razip sends out ominous warning for title-chasing Tampines.
PHOTO: The New Paper

They cannot overtake any team above them and they cannot be overhauled by any below them.

While Harimau Muda will definitely finish their Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League campaign in seventh place, their coach Razip Ismail does not sound like a man already looking forward to a well-deserved holiday after a long season.

The 53-year-old declared: "I want to spoil Tampines' party and their chances of winning the title.

"Of course, comparing the two games (tonight), people would think that Tampines have the more straightforward match against us than Brunei DPMM against Balestier Khalsa.

"But, if they want the three points, they will have to fight for it, because we also want to end our season with a win."

To win their sixth S.League title, Tampines Rovers have to beat Harimau Muda tonight at Jurong West Stadium, and hope that Brunei DPMM lose to Balestier Khalsa at Bandar Seri Begawan.

If the game in Brunei ends in a draw, Tampines will have to win by more than a goal to win the league on goal difference.

DPMM will win their first S.League title if they beat the Tigers.

While the Stags have beaten the Young Tigers seven times in their last eight encounters, six of those victories have been by just a single goal, with the only exception being their last meeting which finished 5-1.

IMPROVEMENTS

For a team that finished last the year before, Razip is pleased with the improvements his team have made as they narrow the gap on the top Singaporean sides.

This season, they have already claimed the scalps of Home United twice, as well as overcoming Albirex Niigata and Warriors FC.

Adam Nor Azlin has been a revelation as a midfield commander, while Faizat Ghazali is currently the top Under-23 scorer in the S.League with six goals.

Razip said: "I'm satisfied with our position. Obviously, our target was to be in the top five, but that was always going to be very difficult.

"Considering how we finished last in 2014 and ninth in 2013, we have improved this year and are getting stronger.

"We won a third of our matches, finished above the Courts Young Lions and had three players called up to the national team and I'm happy that some players are living up to their potential.

"As they are still developing, they need to improve in every department but, most importantly, consistency.

"We could have finished sixth or fifth if we were more consistent.

"For example, we lost 3-2 to the Young Lions at home, and could not keep our lead and drew 1-1 at Jalan Besar. We also drew 2-2 with Warriors despite taking a 2-0 lead."

Despite their Jekyll-and-Hyde tendencies, Razip is sure of one thing against Tampines tonight.

"We will not just show up and let them run over us," he said.


This article was first published on November 21, 2015.
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