Another loss sees Central Park propping up most of division 3, with only Singapore Pirates having a worse record. In a game the Sharks could have won, they instead threw away their numerical advantage to go down 2-0.
Jiayong made an emotional return after over 2 seasons out. However two unfortunate mistakes by the right back led to the defeat. His performances though were encouraging as he offered an extra element in attack with his deep crosses.
Another game went ahead in the scorching sun, with the Sharks trying to get their season back on track having already recorded two disappointing defeats in three games. The opening exchanges were a cagey affair, with the packed Central Park midfield effectively stifling any Primero attempts on goal. The first threat came from a Primero freekick, which rattled the crossbar and flew into touch.
Their number 10 was a constant thorn in the Sharks’ side, frequently taking on players and making penetrating runs. However despite good approach play, they lacked a final ball. Central Park too were not making much headway in attack, until Harold suddenly burst into life on the right. Outpacing his marker, the winger slammed a low shot straight into the upright. The rebound fell at Issac’s feet, but with the goal gaping, the target man somehow managed to sidefoot wide.
The second half offered a more open game, with Jiayong coming on for Zhuoneng at right back. Primero struck first, finding the back of the net. But the referee signaled for offside. Without provocation, the Primero striker suddenly lost control and punched Mizan in the face. To the big goalkeeper’s credit, he remained cool and did not react.
The referee immediately whipped the red card out, and Primero was reduced to ten men. This was the cue for Central Park to step up their attack, but that response didn’t come. Instead Primero seemed more determined to score, and they did just that when a late lunge by Jiayong felled a Primero player in the box. They duly converted with a well placed shot to the top corner.
Central Park had a few opportunities themselves, but the quality of their final ball was lacking. With the Sharks more committed to attacking, holes in the back began to surface. A Primero forward flicked a ball into the box, and with the Sharks’ defenders hesitant to clear, found their winger lurking. A toe poke past Mizan was enough to secure a two-goal cushion for the boys in green.
Central Park then threw on all their strikers in a bid to score. Jason had an opportunity when Harold beat his marker and cut back, but their Primero defenders flung themselves in the way of the shot. Jason then fluffed another chance, when he brought down the ball at the edge of the box but volleyed wide. Some good work on the right saw Heng Li put through but the diminutive striker’s crosses left much to be desired.
The final whistle put Central Park out of their misery, as they more than failed to capitalize on their extra man. It was another disappointing result that did little to raise the team’s morale.
The furious manager commented after the game, 'We just switched off after the opposition was reduced to 10 men but on the other hand, it was the same old story of us not taking our chances and being punished.'
When queried on the red card incident, 'That just don't belong anywhere in the game and the referee had to take responsibility for not having a control of the game and letting some over-zealous tackles got away. Violence have no place in the game and hopefully the player gets a pretty long ban from the league.'