Tampines Rovers aim to edge Home United for second in S.League
Having already conceded the S.League title to defending champions Albirex Niigata (S), Tampines Rovers have set the target of beating Home United in the race for second.
A Fazrul Nawaz goal in the 53rd minute was enough for Tampines to secure their third consecutive victory in the S.League on Sunday night as they saw off Balestier Khalsa 1-0 at Toa Payoh Stadium.
They are now nine points behind Albirex in second position -- with one game in hand -- and seven points above Home, having played three matches more.
"With six matches left in the league, we will try to secure second place which is our target at the moment," Tampines boss Jurgen Raab said.
Home United will move to within four points of Tampines, and 12 points off the top of the table, if they're able to beat Albirex in Tuesday's crunch match at Bishan Stadium.
With the Japanese outfit on course for a second consecutive title, Home and Tampines are effectively vying for the mantle of the top home-grown team.
Tampines have paid the price for their poor record against Albirex this season, with five defeats, including a 4-0 league loss on Aug. 19.
Raab was satisfied with the Stags' performance against Balestier, while admitting it was below their best.
"I knew it was going to be difficult coming here to Toa Payoh to face a side like Balestier, and on a pitch like this, so I was happy we scored one goal and won the game," Raab said.
"We struggled a bit at the start but the boys worked hard and showed improvement after that. We were able to hold the ball and create some chances.
As for Balestier, they remain in seventh position in the 10-team league after only two wins in 19 matches in 2017.
"I can see that the boys are working hard, but we are still missing that quality in the team to convert the chances and put in key passes in the final third," Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic said.
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.