FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Kenneth Tan
The stage is now set for Tampines Rover's imminent coronation as S.League champions 2012 as they go seven points clear at the top of the table although their title rivals still have two games in hand.
The notion is at least supported by SAFFC coach Richard Bok, who himself is no stranger to lifting trophies in recent years.
"The quality of a championship-winning team is to win when you don't play well and Tampines did it today," he said at the post-match press conference.
"Moreover, they have players who have won the league before like Duric, Croissant, Latiff and firepower off the bench like Jamil, Alam Shah and (Ahmed) Fahmie."
The manner of the defeat coupled with the fact that his side had the lead twice in the game was especially hard for him to swallow, however: "I think we deserved at least one point from this game after scoring so late in the game."
"I alway say this and I told my side 'the most dangerous man is Jamil', he has been scoring (late) goals since their first game of the season against DPMM and he proved me right again today.
"We lost possession in the attacking third (prior to that) which was a long way from our box but we failed to deal with a through ball.
"In fact they have been launching such balls so I wanted to put on Bah (Mamadou) on to form a three-man defence but they scored before he could come on.
"For the (second) equaliser, we didnt pick up the second balls outside our box. That's something we need to work on before the (RHB Sngapore) Cup Final.
"We should have been more focused and prepared after we scored a goal."
With another league clash against Gombak United coming up in three days' time, Bok revealed that he will 'rotate' players to keep them fresh for the Cup Final showdown against the Stags again next Sunday.
"I hope the fans can turn up in full force to witness another good game of football (like today) but hopefully in our favour this time!" he said with a wry smile.
Meanwhile his victorious counterpart Tay Peng Kee was able to heave a sigh of relief after all that drama in the topsy-turvy game: ""What a drama! The credit should be given to all of my boys; they want it (the victory) more and they played their hearts out."
"I felt the boys have their own motivations within themselves that they need to collect six points (from the last two games), thus they were working as a unit.
"Hopefully this will put some pressure on DPMM and give the whole team morale (before the Harimau Muda game)."He admitted throwing the proverbial kitchen sink ultimately brought success for his side: "The first goal by SAFFC changed the whole tempo of the game. I already strategised to put Jamil in for the last 30 minutes while I had to throw Alam Shah in because it's either we get three points or nothing."
"When they scored again, we still had to push forward. Basically we had five on top and five at the back but it doesn't matter now."