Monsef Zerka Propels Jaguars to Singapore Cup Final
RHB Singapore Cup (Semi-Final 2nd Leg) – Global FC 1-2 Tanjong Pagar (Aggregate 3-4)
Written by: Lucas Julian – Jalan Besar Stadium
Tanjong Pagar United advanced to the Singapore Cup final after seeing off Philippines outfit Global FC, 2-1 in the semi-final second leg to edge them 4-3 in aggregate.
A satisfying display by the Jaguars saw their hit man Monsef Zerka scoring twice to inspire a hard fought game that might earn them their first silverware since 1998, when they clinched the most prestigious cup title in Singapore, defeating Warriors FC (then SAFFC) 2-0 in the finals.
The Jaguars could not have asked for a better start as they drew first blood three minutes into the game as marquee signing Zerka headed in a cross from close range. The early lead was a big confidence boost following their early mess ups during their previous encounter.
From then on, Patrick Valle’s charges were adamant in stopping a relentless Global side, which responded with quick transitions into attack which panicked the backline at instances after they conceded that goal.
Jaguars’ Asraf Rashid was a menace down the flanks as his runs initiated crosses that seemed lethal from the stands. With a one nothing lead, it seemed to be an evenly fought game as Global fought to contain the attacking attempts.
The start of the second half saw a golden opportunity at goal when a Wilkinson cross met the head of the Walid Lounis only to see his header go wide.
However, their relentless pursuit of another goal was soon rewarded after Ismael Benahmed was fouled in the penalty box by Global’s Jason De Jong.
Zerka made no mistake from the spot as he coolly converted the penalty to the bottom right corner, giving the Jaguars a comfortable two goals lead on the night 13 minutes after the restart.
However, there came a glimpse of hope for the visitors as Zerka scored into his own net after an unsuccessful attempt to clear a corner in the 72nd minute. This sparked a fiercer and much more determined Global side that refused to give up and push on further for the equaliser.
The closing stages of the game saw Global mount attacks that significantly pressured the leading outfit, but to no avail.
The final whistle confirmed Tanjong Pagar’s progression to this year’s Singapore Cup final that was accompanied by Zerka’s unceremonious hat-trick.
Valle side will know their opponent in the final on Monday, October 7, as Home United will be taking a one goal lead into their second leg semi-final tie against League Cup champions Balestier Khalsa.