S.League: Fourtunate warriors

S.League: Fourtunate warriors
Warriors players (in white) celebrate their late equaliser in the Uniform Derby against Home United (in red).

HOME UNITED 2

(Fazli Ayob 48, Fazrul Nawaz 52)

WARRIORS 2

(Hafiz Rahim 4, Nicolas Velez 90+4)

Four minutes was all it took for Warriors FC to find the target in their match against Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League title rivals Home United at the Bishan Stadium last night.

Four minutes was also how long it took for them to throw that lead away, as they conceded twice in a second-half spell.

And they needed four minutes of injury time to find an equaliser and force a 2-2 draw in the "Uniform Derby".

Argentinian forward Nicolas Velez got the vital goal for the Warriors, stabbing home from close range to cancel out Home's lead thanks to their "Hot Faz" attacking duo of Fazrul Nawaz and Fazli Ayob.

Early in the game, Hafiz Rahim had put the visitors in front with an opportunistic volley from distance which caught out Home goalkeeper Shahril Jantan.

Relieved

Warriors coach Alex Weaver was a relieved man at the final whistle.

He said: "We needed something from the game, for sure, mentally more than anything.

"Mathematically, we would still be in the title race even if we lost, but mentally it would have had a big effect.

"I felt we deserved one point, minimum, from this game.

"We were disappointed to concede the two goals, but the players deserve a lot of credit for coming back and eventually controlling the game.

"We didn't panic, created chances, and got the goal in the end."

The Warriors started with a bang through Hafiz's fourth-minute strike but imploded after the break.

First, Fazli stole in to equalise after the ball deflected fortuitously into his path in the Warriors box.

Soon after, Fazrul headed home from a corner kick.

Fazli almost capped off a fine match by scoring a spectacular third goal when he bamboozled the visiting defence with stepovers and shot, only to see the ball come off Hassan Sunny's upright in the 75th minute.

The miss proved costly.

Warriors' big Croatian centre back Marin Vidosevic, thrown upfront by Weaver as a last-minute gamble, proved he was useful with his feet as he deftly turned his marker and delivered a pin-point cross for Velez to finish.

With both teams sharing the spoils, S.League leaders Brunei DPMM will be the happiest with the result.

They sit at the summit on 40 points, two ahead of Home, Warriors and Tampines Rovers.

msazali@sph.com.sg

This article was published on Aug 25 in The New Paper.


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