S.League: Topsy-turvy

S.League: Topsy-turvy
MIXED: Defending champions Tampines Rovers have struggled this season despite goals by marquee player Miljan Mrdakovic (above).

This season's Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League has been tighter than ever.

With just five matches to go before the 12-team league is split into two, for a "half round" of five extra games per team, it appears every side in the top six have a chance of winning the title. Sixth-placed Hougang United are just six points behind league leaders Brunei DPMM. What makes this such an open title race?

BIG GUNS UNCONVINCING

It's as though the traditional big guns - Tampines Rovers, Brunei DPMM and Home United - are all shy to lead the table.

The crown seems to be there for the taking, but they are tripping over themselves with one unexpected result after another.

For example, Home United, runners-up in 2011 and 2013, were thumped 3-0 by seventh-placed Balestier Khalsa on Friday.

Tampines coach Rafi Ali said: "This season, anybody can beat anybody.

"I've been in the S.League since 1996, first as a player and now a coach, and I can't remember a season similar to this year, where the top six teams are all title challengers."

Rafi took over the reins of the Stags in late April, after Salim Moin resigned.

Tampines are looking to win their sixth S.League title - and fourth in a row - but have found it tougher this season than in the past three. Like other sides in the top six, they have a mixed record against teams around them.

In eight games against top-six teams, Tampines have lost only once, but won just three.

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