Fazrul Nawaz was the hero for Warriors FC as he grabbed a brace to propel them to a 4-1 win over Home United in Sunday’s Uniform Derby in the S.League.
The 29-year-old had recently returned to Warriors, where he played at from 2011 to 2012, after his move to Malaysia Premier League outfit Sabah failed to work out.
Five minutes into Sunday’s clash, Nicolas Velez raced onto Hafiz Rahim’s incisive pass and whipped a cross into the box to find Fazrul, who made no mistake in slotting a first-time shot past Shahril Jantan to reopen his account for the club.
The Singapore international was on target once more in the 30th minute and, this time, he displayed his aerial prowess after climbing above Shahril to meet Hafiz’s freekick and sent a powerful header into the back of the net.
Fazrul did have a chance to complete his hat-trick eight minutes later when the Protectors’ failure to clear their lines saw the ball fall to him inside the area, but he chose to unselfishly lay the ball into the path of Velez, who made no mistake in finding the back of the net to make it 3-0.
And right on the stroke of halftime, the visitors put the result beyond doubt after Kevin McCann latched onto Miroslav Pejic’s layoff and unleashed a low drive that Shahril could only push into the bottom corner.
Home did manage to pull one back in the 57th minute after Ambroise Begue ran straight at the heart of the opposition defence before slipping a pass to Kamel Ramdani, who clinically fired his shot past Daniel Ong’s despairing dive.
But in the end, it proved to be a mere consolation as Warriors held out to get their season back on track, ending a run of three straight defeats to Maziya, Albirex Niigata (S) and Bengaluru in the process.
Fazrul understandably looked exhausted after the final whistle after playing the full 90 minutes in his first competitive game in months, but expressed delight and relief at the way his second debut for Warriors turned out.
“I’m very happy to be back after three months on the sidelines,” he said.
“It was my first game back and I think at the 60-minute mark, I was starting to cramp up a little.
“But overall, I’m happy with my contribution and I would like to thank the FAS [Football Association of Singapore] for helping facilitate my move, as well as my former club Warriors for taking me back.
“Of course, it’s a relief to score as well because there’s always pressure on strikers to find the back of the net.
“But I prepared well for this game and I’m really excited for the future. All the frustration I’ve had over the past few months, I just decided to let it all out on the pitch tonight [Sunday].
“Now, I just want to work hard and help my team get the goals.”
Home United: Shahril Jantan (Hyrulnizam Juma’at 46’), Ang Zhiwei (Fazli Ayob 73’), Abdil Qaiyyim, Redzwan Atan, Juma’at Jantan, Yasir Hanapi, Song Ui-young, Imran Sahib (Stanely Ng 46’), Kamel Ramdani, Sirina Camara, Ambroise Begue.
Warriors FC: Daniel Ong, Nur Asyidiq, Daniel Bennett, Marin Vidosevic (Syaqir Sulaiman 85’), Irwan Shah, Emmeric Ong, Kevin McCann, Hafiz Rahim, Miroslav Pejic (Fazli Jaffar 60’), Nicolas Velez (Shi Jiayi 65’), Fazrul Nawaz.