Pennant comes to Stags' rescue against Home

Jermaine Pennant scored a sublime free-kick on Thursday evening to help Tampines Rovers come from behind and hold Home United to a 1-1 draw.

Home United had taken the lead in the 35th minute through Ken Ilso, but the Tampines wideman equalised for the visitors minutes later.

It was a quiet opening 20 minutes at the Bishan Stadium, as both sides failed to create any clear-cut chances.

The first real chance of the game only came in the 23rd minute, when Pennant blazed over from 10 yards out after Home failed to deal with Billy Mehmet's cross.

At the other end, Song Ui-Young had a chance to open the scoring after being released by Ilso, but his fierce shot was pushed away by Izwan Mahbud.

It seemed only a moment of brilliance would break the deadlock, and so it proved in the 35th minute.

Chasing down Azhar Sairudin's long ball, Ilso managed to win the ball at the byline before beating Noh Rahman to drive the ball home from an acute angle.

Ken Ilso scored the opener against Tampines. Photo by: Wexiang Lim / FFT

However, Home's delight would only last five minutes as the Stags drew level through Pennant.

From a direct free-kick 25 yards out, the former Liverpool winger curled an unstoppable effort into the top corner to stun the 3,551 crowd at Bishan Stadium.

Pennant was at it again in the 55th minute, this time delivering a free-kick to Mehmet but the latter's header was smothered by Hyrulnizam.

A point is better than no points

- Tampines coach V.Sundramoorthy

Home had a great chance to win the game ten minutes from time, but Ismadi Mukhtar cleared Irfan Fandi's header off the line.

Tampines Rovers coach V.Sundramoorthy admitted he had an eye on the upcoming AFC Cup clash with Selangor on Tuesday, so he opted to rest some players.

However, he still felt that the team he put out was strong enough to claim the three points.

"We have players who can win the game for us, but football is such you know... a point is better than no points," Sundram said.

"At least we now move forward towards the AFC and see how the game against Selangor comes by."

Home coach Philippe Aw was however disappointed his side failed to hold onto their lead again for the second time in three games.

Against Warriors FC, Home threw the lead away twice and had to settle for a 2-2 draw in their season opener.

"If you ask me whether I am happy with one point, then as a team we are disappointed because we felt we could have taken the three points," Aw said.

But, he added, "A lot people said we would have got beaten today, but we showed them we could get a point."