Singapore Premier League: Tampines maintain hot start with 3-1 win over Balestier
Victory keeps the Stags at the top of the table, a point ahead of Albirex Niigata and Lion City Sailors
SINGAPORE — Tampines Rovers maintained their strong start to the new Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, notching their third win in a row to stay top of the standing after the fourth round of matches.
A 3-1 victory over improving Balestier Khalsa at Bishan Stadium on Tuesday (14 March) gave the Stags 10 points from four matches, one ahead of title contenders Albirex Niigata (Singapore) and Lion City Sailors.
Veteran Singapore international forward Faris Ramli continued his hot start after joining Tampines from Hougang United in the off-season, scoring in his fourth straight match as he headed in the opening goal in the 29th minute.
Two minutes later, last season's top scorer Boris Kopitovic doubled Tampines' lead, latching on to Joel Chew's through pass to slot home.
Balestier pulled a goal back in the 49th minute when Daniel Goh tapped in from close range, but Kopitovic restore the two-goal cushion in the 77th minute, slamming a thunderous shot following fine work from Faris.
Tampines' win thus sets up a top-of-the-table clash with defending champions Albirex at Jurong East Stadium on Sunday.
Albirex also get their third win in a row
Albirex also got their third straight league victory with a clinical 2-0 win over Singapore Cup winners Hougang at Jurong East Stadium on Wednesday.
Midfielder Seia Kunori got both goals - the first in first-half stoppage time, the second in second-half stoppage time - as the White Swans kept pace with Tampines with a game in hand.
The Lion City Sailors - champions in 2021 - rebounded from last week's 0-4 loss to Albirex with a 3-0 victory over Geylang International at Bishan Stadium on Wednesday.
Brazilian midfielder Diego Lopes missed a spot kick in the 19th minute, but created the first goal for Hafiz Nor (22nd minute) before slotting home from close range in first-half stoppage time. Abdul Rasaq added the Sailors' third goal in the 70th minute.
Brunei's DPMM FC notched their first win of the SPL season with a 2-1 win over Tanjong Pagar United at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday.
Tanjong Pagar took the lead in the 28th minute when DPMM's Hirzi Zulfaqar turned Shakir Hamzah's cross into his own net. However, DPMM's Belarusian striker Andrey Voronkov equalised with a superb curled shot in the 55th minute, before Hanif Hamir sealed the win with a strong header in the 78th minute.
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