Tampines Rovers have the advantage over Tanjong Pagar United in the Singapore Cup quarter-finals after claiming a 4-2 win in Friday’s first leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
It was the Stags who drew first blood when they took the lead four minutes before the half-hour mark after Jozef Kaplan unselfishly played Shahdan Sulaiman’s lovely floated pass into the path of Miljan Mrdakovic, who burst past the onrushing Aurelien Herisson before firing into the unguarded net.
But on the stroke of halftime, Tanjong Pagar equalised after Monsef Zerka found space down the left and drilled in a low cross that Firdaus Idros cleverly touched into the bottom corner.
Tampines did manage to reclaim the lead nine minutes into the second half when Mrdakovic ran onto an incisive pass by Ismadi Mukhtar and drilled in a low shot that was initially parried by Herisson, although Jamil Ali caught Ruzaini Zainal unaware and nipped in ahead of him to poke the rebound over the line.
Again, the Jaguars were able to muster a response in the 65th minute when Monsef Zerka coolly sent Justin Pasfield the wrong way from the spot, after Kaplan was adjudged to have tripped Firdaus inside the box.
However, it took Rafi Ali’s charges just four minutes to edge ahead for the third time and it was Jamil who netted once more, running onto Kaplan’s through-pass before sending a sublime first-time lob over Herisson and into the back of the net.
And in the first minute of injury-time, they went on to seal the victory when Kaplan forced his way free inside the box before blasting a low shot home to hand the Stags a two-goal cushion ahead of next Tuesday’s second leg.
Tampines Rovers: Justin Pasfield, Anaz Hadee, Fahrudin Mustafic, Kunihiro Yamashita, Jufri Taha, Jacob Butler, Jozef Kaplan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Jamil Ali (Ang Zhi Wei 87’), Jozef Kaplan, Miljan Mrdakovic (Noh Alam Shah 79’).
Tanjong Pagar United: Aurelien Herisson, Ruzaini Zainal, Ahmad Latiff, Hafiz Osman, Nor Azli Yusoff, Anthony Aymard, Firdaus Idros, Sazali Salleh, Sebastien Etiemble, Monsef Zerka.