Stags fail to deliver yet again

Tampines Rovers fell to their second straight defeat in the AFC Cup on Tuesday night after going down 3-2 to Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club.  

Despite starting with their strongest line-up and having won the reverse fixture 4-0 at Jalan Besar Stadium, the Stags were unable to get the victory they needed badly.

Selangor FA’s 0-0 draw with Ceres La Salle meant that the Malaysia side are second in Group E, and anything less than three points for V. Sundramoorthy’s side on 10 May against the Red Giants will see Tampines crashing out of the tournament.

Landing Darmoe scored twice in the match, including the game winner, to consign the S.League side to defeat.

His first came in the 20th minute after the Tampines backline failed to deal with a Sheikh Jamal attack. Following Emeka Onuoha’s attempt which was blocked by captain Fahrudin Mustafic, the ball fell towards Darmoe, who lashed in from inside five yards.

But just before half-time, the visitors equalised. A Jermaine Pennant corner was headed in powerfully by Mustafic, who had escaped from his marker for a free header.

However, Mustafic turned villain 10 minutes into the second period, after he fouled Wedson Anselme just inside the penalty area.

The resulting spot-kick was converted by Emeka Onuoha, as his shot went in off the post despite Tampines custodian Izwan Mahbud guessing the right way.

Tampines managed to come back once again however, this time in the 70th minute. Shahdan Sulaiman’s long-range effort was saved by goalkeeper Mazharul Islam Himel, only for Billy Mehmet to react quickest to the rebound and he slotted it in calmly.

The Stags were undone by another defensive lapse in the 82nd minute though. A sublime through ball from Onuoha was latched onto by Darboe, who peeled away from Hafiz Sujad, and the forward had the easy task of poking it past Izwan.

Tampines amped up their efforts in a bid to find a third equaliser, but saw a pair of efforts from substitute Christopher Van Huizen blocked, while both Yasir Hanapi and Billy Mehmet headed over from close range after the winger set them up.

The visitors had a final go in the dying minutes, yet Shahdan’s effort from outside the area was comfortable for Himel, allowing the hosts to claim their first points of the campaign.  

Photo: Lagardère Sports