Tampines Rovers coach Juergen Raab said he was elated with the way his men bounced back after conceding an early goal and secure a 3-2 win against Home United in their S.League clash on Friday.
The Stags, with the hard-fought win at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday, ended Home's unbeaten run in the league, which had extended to seven matches. After Amiruldin Asraf struck the opening goal for the Protectors in the 13th minute, Khairul Amri netted the equaliser in the 31st minute after which Shakir Hamzah and Daniel Bennett struck twice in five minutes to help the team head into the break with a two-goal lead.
Amiruldin scored another one in the 82nd minute to reduce Home's deficit to one goal, but Bennett-led backline held its composure to seal three points, which helped the Tampines leapfrog Home to the second spot on the league table, four behind leaders Albirex Niigata, who have 22 points from eight matches.
"It was a totally deserved win and I am proud to be able to beat a strong team like Home today. I am very happy with the reaction from the boys after they conceded first - a goal that came from nothing," Raab said, as quoted by S.League's official website.
"It was a good game of football from both sides, with pace and intensity. The Tampines team is always capable of scoring goals and we should have scored more, but this was a good result for us in our title bid."
Protectors coach Aidil Sharin said his team, which played without their top-scorer Stipe Plazibat, paid the price for the loss of concentration towards the end of the first half. However, he added that his team will not give up, but focus on the upcoming fixtures. Notably, Home take on Global FC in the first leg of AFC Cup Asean semi-final in Manila on Tuesday.
"We lost concentration and were made to pay for it, simple as that. But credit to Tampines, they are an experienced team who knows how to control the game," Sharin said.
"We tried to keep our unbeaten run but failed, that is football. We have to look forward now, there is nothing else we can do. We cannot give up because we lose one game. It is only the first round and there are still two more rounds to go."