'Mamanovic' Steals The Show As Eunos Seal Off Friendly Win In First Half

Osman Shainin was the undoubted star of the show for Eunos Crescent.

Aaron Chan
Writer / Editor
The Unofficial S.League Podcast

Eunos Crescent unveiled a few new faces in a friendly against FC Regreso last night as part of their pre-season preparations in view of their title defence in the upcoming 2017 NFL Division 1 season.

Having lost six players to Yishun Sentek Mariners after the 2016 season concluded, Eunos have been busy in the transfer market, snapping up star striker Indra Sahdan Daud to lead their frontline while boosting their rearguard with the reliable Lau Meng Meng and promising left back Indra Hafriefendy  from Tiong Bahru and Bishan Barx respectively.

It was FC Regreso who almost drew first blood from a goalmouth melee in the 4th minute but the ball was scrambled away before any real damage could be done.

Eunos replied with a series of quick passes and Tengku Mushadad's through ball was punted away just two minutes later after quick thinking from the FC Regreso keeper, who did well to come off his line.

Following the early chances by both sides, FC Regreso did not seem intimidated by their more illustrious opponents and there was a good battle going on in the middle of the park for the first quarter of the game. Their resolve was broken, however, in the 19th minute when Osman Shainin latched on to a clever through pass from Tengku and he placed it beyond the reach of the FC Regreso keeper. The 27 year old Osman, who is dubbed 'Mamanovic' by his teammates, almost single-handedly broke open the opponent's defence at times during a magical first half.

Eunos gaffer Mardani briefing his charges.

Eunos had a scare merely four minutes later when a terrible back pass put Alif Asyraaf under pressure but the young custodian reacted quickly to clear it before any FC Regreso players could get a touch.

Tengku turned goalscorer in the 25th minute as he timed his run perfectly to meet a piercing through ball and there was no stopping the former Hougang midfielder from close range.

FC Regreso tried to force a reply two minutes later when their striker attempted a shot from within the penalty box but Lau Meng Meng blocked it with his chest calmly to thwart the effort.

Eunos skipper Jonathan Xu saw his goal-bound grounder cleared off the line moments later but there was no stopping Eunos from getting their third goal in the 35th minute when the outstanding Osman took on four players and left them bewildered with his explosive pace before cutting the ball to Xu, who slotted it away. Xu, who spent a part of his career with Balestier Khalsa from 2014 to 2015, would add his name to the scoresheet a second time just minutes later.

Osman's speed proved to be too much of a handful for FC Regreso when he was held back unnecessarily after cutting past a player in the 39th minute and the referee had no qualms about flashing a straight red card at the flustered centre half.

Former Hougang centre back Lau Meng Meng was part of a new look Eunos backline.

The numerical disadvantage took only two minutes to affect FC Regreso as Harry Denn struck past their keeper from the right of the box. Osman then added more icing on the cake when he lofted a fantastic through ball to Xu, who gleefully banged it in to complete his hat-trick in the 44th minute.

Going into the break with a 6 - 0 lead, Eunos gaffer Mohamed Mardani took off his stars to give his trialists an opportunity to impress. With the playing field leveled, FC Regreso's grit and determination paid off when they pulled back a goal in the 50th minute but a quick counter by Eunos six minutes later was capped off with a goal by Muhammad Fareez before Eunos striker Shah placed it into the bottom corner for goal number 8.

Eunos could have extended their lead even further after they were awarded a penalty but Shah's shot rocked the crossbar before it was hacked away and goalkeeper Amirul Asraff pulled off two important saves late in the game to keep the scoreline intact until the final whistle.

Speaking about what he thought about the match as the players did their cooling down drills, Eunos team manager Darwin Jalil said, "I think it's a good start for our pre-season preparations. We don't really look into the score but I think there are plenty of positives to take away from the game."

Darwin and Mardani debriefing the squad after the match.

"As you can see, we played two different teams in each half. So it is definitely something for us to look forward to for the upcoming season." he added.

When asked about which player(s) impressed him the most during the match, Darwin spoke highly of Osman, "He had a impressive first half display. I also think Jonathan Xu did really well with his hat-trick."

Eunos Crescent will be one of the teams involved in the NFL 2017 season opener matches on 22nd April. Do stay tuned to our Facebook page for the latest updates.

Article / Photos: Aaron Chan
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