Mrdakovic nets hat-trick to lead Tampines to Plate triumph

Tampines Rovers won the Plate Final of the Starhub League Cup on Thursday evening after cruising to a 3-0 win over Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The Stags broke the deadlock in the 27th minute when Ang Zhi Wei latched onto Jacob Butler’s slide-rule pass on the edge of the box and crossed to Miljan Mrdakovic, who clinically slotted his shot past Zaiful Nizam into the bottom corner.

Balestier did have their fair share of chances to equalise – especially in the second half – but were let down by poor finishing; Tajeli Salamat the biggest culprit as he missed two gilt-edged chances in the span of five minutes after he fired wide with only Justin Pasfield to beat on both occasions.

And seven minutes from time, Tampines made them pay for their profligacy after Shahdan Sulaiman did brilliantly to intercept a poor pass from Ridwan Jamil, skip past the last defender and advanced on goal, before unselfishly squaring the ball to leave Mrdakovic with a simple tap-in.

And a minute later, the win was secured as Mrdakovic completed his hat-trick when he fired home on the rebound, after Shahdan’s initial shot had been saved by Zaiful.

Tampines Rovers: Justin Pasfield, Anaz Hadee, Abdil Qaiyyim, Kunihiro Yamashita, Jufri Taha, Ang Zhi Wei (Shahdan Sulaiman 46’), Jozef Kaplan, Jacob Butler, Christopher van Huizen (Shaiful Esah 72’), Miljan Mrdakovic, Noh Alam Shah (Imran Sahib 61’).

Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam, Poh Yi Feng, Jonathan Xu, Nurullah Hussein, Syed Thaha, Tajeli Salamat (Zulkiffli Hassim 78’), Alando Nicholas (Ridwan Jamil 62’), Muhaymin Salim (Ahmad Syahir 52’), Park Kang-jin, Kim Min-ho, Goran Ljubojevic.

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