Tampines Rovers picked up a second big win in four days, without the injured duo of Shakir Hamzah and Khairul Amri, as they easily dispatched bottom-side Garena Young Lions 4-0 at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday night.
Young defender Shannon Stephen came back to haunt his former side with two goals and an assist in his first game for the Stags.
Young Lions had started off in enterprising fashion, and should have gone ahead after 11 minutes.
Right-back Rusyaidi Salime made a late run into the box to meet Taufik Suparno’s pass, but fired inches wide of the right-hand post.
Tampines would go on to show them how it should be done five minutes later, with Shannon nodding home Ivan Dzoni’s inward cross from the right.
Young Lions goalkeeper Zharfan Rohaizad then had to make a superb flying save to deny Ryutaro Megumi from making it 2-0, before Taufik spurned a one-on-one opportunity at the other end to level the scores.
Tampines would double their advantage eight minutes before half time, with Shannon returning the favour with a deep cross into the box for Dzoni to fire home a spectacular scissor-kick volley.
The game was all but over by the 58th minute, with Shannon reacting the quickest in the six-yard box to tap home after Megumi’s shot was parried by Zharfan.
Dzoni would round off the scoring for Jurgen Raab’s side on 78 minutes — six minutes after hitting the post — with his second goal of the night.
The former Croatian under-17 forward needed just one touch to guide home Irwan Shah’s left-wing cross into the area.
The result meant Tampines closed the gap between them and leaders Albirex Niigata (S) to nine points, with still a game in hand.
Meanwhile, Vincent Subramaniam’s Young Lions continued to languish at the bottom with three points from 15 games and are still waiting for their first win of the season.
Garena Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Illyas Lee (C), Amirul Adli, Jordan Chan, Ammirul Emmran (Ikhsan Fandi 29′), Muhelmy Suhaimi (Joshua Pereira 54′), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Haiqal Pashia, Taufik Suparno
Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Madhu Mohana, Mustafic Fahrudin (C), Daniel Bennett, Shannon Stephen, Shahdan Sulaiman (Hafiz Rahim 84′), Hafiz Sujad (Son Yong Chan 73′), Irwan Shah, Ryutaro Megumi, Fazrul Nawaz (Fazli Ayob 61′), Ivan Dzoni