Women's ● Mar 12, 2007
Women’s Challenge Cup 2007 Week 5 – Group C winner Arion book spot in semis
The preliminary round of the Women’s Football Challenge Cup 2007 ended last week, with four teams advancing into the Semi-Finals, to be held this Saturday, 17 March.
The four Semi-Final teams are Bishan Arsenal, who emerged Champions of Group A, Police FC (Champions of Group B), Arion Women’s (Champions of Group C), and United World College, who were the best runners-up in the preliminary round.
Women’s Challenge Cup- Group C
Tiong Bahru FC 1 Redhill Rangers FC 0
In a Group C match between Tiong Bahru and Redhill Rangers held on Sunday at Jurong Stadium, the Tiong Bahru girls held dominance for most of the game, yet could only squeeze past their opponents by a single goal.
With the best runners-up spot all but gone to a group A or B side, Tiong Bahru knew their only chance of progression to the semi-finals was to win against Redhill Rangers and then hope Sporting Westlake could cause an upset against group leaders Arion Women’s.
Tiong Bahru came out all guns blazing with majority of possession, creating opening after opening in the first 10 minutes. It was not long before they were rewarded when Masturah Kahad found the top left hand corner of Francis Tabatha‚Äôs goal.
An ankle injury had seen Redhill’s Zulaikha Nasir leave the field for treatment moments earlier. Rather than make a substitution, coach Tuan Ibrahim decided to hold off in the hope his young centre back would return. However, his plan backfired as Redhill soon found themselves overstretched and when the ball switched sides, Masturah Kahad was given the time and opportunity to lift the ball exquisitely over the Tabatha‚Äôs head.
The game drifted before coming to life with 10 minutes to go to the break. Three speculative efforts from Tiong Bahru players almost caught Francis Tabatha off her line but she showed good agility in tipping two over and one onto the bar. Hence, the score remained 1-0 going into the break with Tiong Bahru unlucky not to have increased their lead.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Tiong Bahru dominating the proceedings. Three further clear chances were created and wasted; firstly Nuriah Noor found herself clean through on goal only to be denied by the impressive Tabatha.
Tabatha then rode her luck with captain Nurashidah saving her blushes by spectacularly clearing off the line. Then the post intervened when Sherlyn Koh drove the ball across the box.
But, in the end the one goal was enough and it was job done for Tiong Bahru. All they could do then was to wait and hope.
Arion Women’s FC 4 Sporting Westlake 0
Having seen Tiong Bahru beat Redhill Rangers moments earlier, Arion knew exactly what was needed – avoid defeat at all costs, and progress to the semi-finals will be guaranteed.
This was accomplished at a canter but not after a shaky first five minutes.
Sporting Westlake came out hungry and it look as though an upset was possible. Arion, meanwhile, appeared nervous and struggled to maintain possession. This was to prove a false dawn however as Arion soon got their fluid passing game into gear. With Westlake‚Äôs back four holding a high line, Jillyn Koh and Angeline Chua were continually able to slide the ball through for Lim Shiya & Biana Strasser to break the offside trap.
But both players were to squander clear-cut chances; the most notable with Strasser putting the ball over from 6 yards and Lim shooting straight at the keeper. Strasser soon redeemed herself though on 25 minutes as goalkeeper Shahruzana Rohani was only able to parry Lim‚Äôs shot to the feet of Strasser, who gratefully buried the rebound for her fourth goal of the competition.
Within 15 minutes, Arion had trebled their lead and the game effectively ended as a contest. First, confusion in the Sporting Westlake defence presented Angeline Chua with the easiest of tap ins on 37 minutes. Then, Lim Shiya made it three on 40 minutes, driving down the left and eluding Shahruzana with a cross-cum-shot.
Half-time couldn’t come soon enough for Sporting Westlake but any lessons that could have been learnt were not. From the second half kickoff, Arion continued to feed Lim on the left who used her blistering pace to break through Westlake’s backline on numerous occasions.
On 68 minutes, Arion were awarded a penalty after an innocuous infringement. However, Jillyn Koh was unable to convert as she saw her penalty sail high and wide. The game then petered out although Arion did add a fourth late on as Evelyn Tan broke through and slotted the ball past the onrushing Shahruzana.
Another win and another clean sheet can’t have disappointed coach Li Jing although she must surely be concerned about the number of chances that went begging.
Against cup favourite Bishan Arsenal, the only other team with a 100% record in the competition, opportunities will be less and it will be imperative they are taken.
But with the pace of Lim and the physical presence of Strasser up front, Arion can go into the semi-final with confidence and know that if they play to their potential, they have every chance of walking out at Jalan Besar in the final on Sunday 25th March.
Full Results of Week 5 and Semi-Finals Fixtures as below:
Matches Played on 10th March 2007
|Match 22 – Bishan Arsenal FC ‘A’ 4 vs FAS Young Women 1|
|Match 23 – FAS Team Under-17 4 vs Jollilads Arsenal FC 1|
Matches Played on 11th March 2007
|Match 24 – Police FC 3 vs Paya Lebar Punggol FC 0|
|Match 25 – Tiong Bahru FC 1 vs Redhill Rangers FC 0|
|Match 26 – Sporting Westlake FC 0 vs Arion Women’s FC 4|
|Bishan Arsenal FC ‘A’||3||3||0||0||27||1||26||9|
|FAS Young Women||3||2||0||1||26||4||22||6|
|Nanyang Techological University||3||1||0||2||2||18||-16||3|
|United World College||3||2||1||0||7||0||7||7|
|Paya Lebar Punggol FC||3||0||1||2||1||6||-5||1|
|FAS Team Under-17||3||0||1||2||2||12||-10||1|
|Arion Women’s FC||3||3||0||0||9||2||7||9|
|Tiong Bahru FC||3||2||0||1||6||1||5||6|
|Sporting Westlake FC||3||1||0||2||2||10||-8||3|
|Redhill Rangers FC||3||0||0||3||3||7||-4||0|
Match Scheduled on 17th March 2007
|Semi Final 1|
|Match 27 – Bishan Arsenal FC ‘A’ vs Arion Women’s FC|
|Jurong Stadium, 7pm|
|Semi Final 2|
|Match 28 – Police FC vs United World College|
|Clementi Stadium, 7pm|