Defending S.League champions Tampines Rovers recorded their first win under Rafi Ali after beating Courts Young Lions 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday.
The Stags got off to the perfect start after taking the lead in the 16th minute when Imran Sahib’s neat pass release Miljan Mrdakovic and although Syazwan Buhari got a hand to his low shot, Aleksandar Duric was on hand to nod the ball over the line from two yards out.
However, the hosts pulled level immediately after halftime when Sahil Suhaimi brilliantly brought down Stanely Ng’s right-wing cross, before drilling his shot into the bottom corner.
But a minute after the hour mark, Tampines went on to claim all three points after a quickly-taken freekick by Shahdan Sulaiman caught out the opposition defence; Miljan Mrdakovic running onto his pass before clinically firing past Syazwan for the winner.
In Friday’s other game at the Pasir Gudang Corporation Stadium, Albirex Niigata (S) claimed a convincing 4-1 win over bottom side Harimau Muda.
The Young Tigers had taken a 20th-minute lead through Ramzi Sufian’s opener, but Kazuki Sakamoto struck eight minutes later to ensure both sides went in at the break level on the scoreboard.
Four minutes after the restart, Albirex went ahead when Taiyo Nishida found the back of the net, before Sakamoto extended their lead with his second of the evening in the 66th minute.
And 11 minutes from time, Sakamoto completed his hat-trick to cap off a fine individual display and wrap up the three points for the visitors.
Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari, Fadli Kamis, M. Anumanthan, Delwinder Singh, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Jordan Webb, Amirul Adli, Stanely Ng (Amy Recha 66’), Iqbal Hussain (Muhaymin Salim 76’), Sherif El-Masri, Sahil Suhaimi.
Tampines Rovers: Ridhuan Barudin, Anaz Hadee, Abdil Qaiyyim, Fahrudin Mustafic, Jufri Taha, Imran Sahib (Ang Zhiwei 82’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Luis Closa, Roberto Martinez (Noh Alam Shah 70’), Miljan Mrdakovic (Jamil Ali 90’), Aleksandar Duric.