S.League: Jaguars' M&M connection

They say M&M candy "melts in your mouth, not in your hands".

Tanjong Pagar United's, also known as the Jaguars, M&M combination is their strike duo Masrezwan Masturi and Monsef Zerka.

Masrezwan, a new signing from Home United, enjoyed a great debut in Tanjong Pagar's first S.League match of the season when they beat Harimau Muda B 2-1 in Pasir Gudang on Monday.

Playing as an out-an-out striker in place of Zerka, who was serving a suspension carried over from last season, Masrezwan scored a brilliant lob, before delivering a header that was diverted into goal by a Harimau Muda defender for the winning goal.

With Zerka, who scored 12 S.League goals last season, now available again, Jaguars coach Patrick Vallee was considering playing him alongside Masrezwan against Hougang on Thursday night's match.

Asked if he has a selection headache trying to fit the pair with French attacking midfielders Kamel Ramdani and Sebastien Etiemble, the Frenchman told The New Paper on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday's clash: "Ask any coach if it is a headache for them to have more players who can score - of course not.

"It's very good for the team, and I hope Mas and Monsef can score many goals this season.

"I chose to sign Mas because I know he can score goals if we didn't have Monsef, like against Harimau Muda, and he did very well.

"But now both are available... I have no problems starting them together."

Vallee, however, admitted he had a headache over the replacement of defenders Ruzaini Zainal and Nor Azli Yusoff, who missed Thursday night's match after seeing red on Monday.DANGEROUS

The former Etoile coach described Hougang as "dangerous".

"Hougang are a good team who are very organised - and they can be very dangerous," he said.

"They have good imports, good locals, and they should do well this season."

Hougang kicked off their season with a 2-2 draw at home to Woodlands Wellington.

The Cheetahs had plenty of chances to win and led 2-1 at one point, only to allow the Rams back in with a schoolboy error in defence.

Said Hougang coach Amin Nasir: "Against Woodlands, the performance of our attacking players was good, overall we did well, but in the end we got just one point because of a defensive lapse.

"It's nice to hear those kind words from the Tanjong Pagar coach, but they are very strong themselves.

"I just watched a video of Tanjong Pagar's game (against Harimau Muda) and you can see how their new signings have made them a better team - playing away with nine men and getting the win says it all.

"It won't be easy but, if we work on our mistakes and keep it tight at the back, I'm confident we will get a chance to score and win the game," said Nasir before the match.

msazali@sph.com.sg

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