Returning striker Fazrul back on the scoresheet in Tampines' draw with Geylang

Tampines Rovers forward Fazrul Nawaz scored in his first start since his return from a 10-month layoff in a 1-1 draw with Geylang International on Thursday evening. 

The Singapore international tore his anterior cruciate ligament in August last year and only made his return last week, coming off the bench in the 1-0 win over Warriors FC.

Back in the starting 11 on Thursday, Fazrul opened the scoring in the 54th minute, running onto Ismadi Mukhtar’s through ball and initially being denied by Syazwan Buhari at point-blank range.

But he managed to pounce on the rebound and tucked the ball away to put the Stags in front.

Overall I gave a good account of myself, I tried my best and can improve

- Fazrul Nawaz

Fazrul’s celebrations were dampened, however, after Geylang found an equaliser late in the game.

Ricardo Sendra was left with an easy header from Shahfiq Ghani’s corner in the 85th minute as he made sure the Eagles went home with a point.

“Overall I gave a good account of myself, I tried my best and can improve,” Fazrul said after the game.

“It is good to be back and back scoring. Credit to Geylang, they came with a game plan and it was a deserved draw."

Geylang came from behind to settle for a draw

Tampines coach Jurgen Raab had few complaints after the game, pleased to see Fazrul back among the scorers and admitting that a draw was a just result.

Apart from Fazrul’s goal, the Stags only had one other real opportunity in the 19th minute, when Hafiz Sujad latched onto Shakir Hamzah’s cut-back and stung Syazwan's palms with his fierce drive.

“I am happy for him, after so long time he could start a game and also he scored a goal, that’s always very important for a player,” Raab said.

The score is OK … I am satisfied with the match and how the team tried to win. It was a high effort and we can live with the score

- Jurgen Raab

“He worked very hard, this match really was a heavy match. What both teams have done, I must give my respect.

“The score is OK … I am satisfied with the match and how the team tried to win. It was a high effort and we can live with the score.”

Geylang's interim coach Noor Ali agreed with Raab’s assessment, saying he was satisfied with the result, despite the Eagles enjoying better chances throughout the game.

Shawal Anuar was unlucky to see his 31st-minute volley whistle just over the bar, while Victor Coto could only hit the woodwork after being played in by the former five minutes later.

The Eagles could have even nicked it at the end, but Coto could only head wide from six yards out after meeting Anders Aplin’s cross.

“I think we did well today in terms of performance — the teamwork was solid, we could have got a last-minute goal, but it was good pressure from Mustafic Fahrudin (on Coto),” Noor shared.

“I am not disappointed with the performance. I was coming here to get three points … I thought we can give them a good fight. I won't say happy, but I am not disappointed.”

Photos: S.League