2017 Singapore S-League
  • Tampines Rovers (53')

Fazrul Nawaz fires Tampines to S.League victory over Balestier

Tampines Rovers narrowed the gap behind S.League leaders Albirex Niigata (S) to nine points after overcoming Balestier Khalsa 1-0 at Toa Payoh Stadium on Sunday night.

A lone Fazrul Nawaz strike in the second half was enough to separate both sides as Jurgen Raab's men collected their third win in eight days.

Balestier put up a battling display, but were let down by their lack of incisiveness in the attacking third once again.

Tampines could have opened the scoring on 17 minutes, but Shahdan Sulaiman's free kick on the edge of the box was tipped over by Zaiful Nizam.

Balestier did go close two minutes later when Jonathan Tan was put through in goal by Nanda Linn Kate Chit. However, the former's shot was denied by a stunning block by Madhu Mohana.

Tampines were unlucky not to end the first half on top after Madhu nodded Shahdan's corner onto the post with Zaiful beaten.

The Stags carried where they left off after the break, with Ryutaro Megumi firing straight at Zaiful after a mazy run before Ismadi Mukhtar shot wide.

The deadlock was eventually broken on 53 minutes. Hafiz Sujad's left-wing cross was nodded by Megumi into the path of Fazrul, who sent a looping header beyond the reach of Zaiful.

Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic rang the changes thereafter, bringing on Shah Hirul and Hanafi Akbar to replace Kyaw Zayar Win and Tan.

The Tigers went almightily close to equalising on 74 minutes, with Hanafi's fierce shot parried by Izwan Mahbud, who was not threatened much for the whole game.

Tampines did miss a couple of opportunities to double their lead, but it did not matter as they sealed the three points to go seven points clear of third-placed Home United.

The Stags will next host Warriors FC on Wednesday night, with their title challenge still mathematically possible.

Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK, C), Tajeli Selamat, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Ashrul Syafeeq, Fadli Kamis, Nanda Linn Kyaw Chit (Zulkhair Mustaffa 79'), Raihan Rahman, Kyaw Zayar Win (Shah Hirul 68'), Aung Kyaw Naing, Hazzuwan Halim, Jonathan Tan (Hanafi Akbar 61')

Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Madhu Mohana, Fahrudin Mustafic (C), Daniel Bennett, Ismadi Mukhtar, Shahdan Sulaiman, Hafiz Sujad (Hafiz Rahim 90'), Irwan Shah, Ryutaro Megumi, Ivan Dzoni (Shannon Stephen 88'), Fazrul Nawaz (Fazli Ayob 68')