The Lion City Sailors Women’s team kept up their perfect start to the 2024 Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL) season, as they secured a hard-fought 3-0 win against eighth-place Tanjong Pagar United on Saturday (20 April) night. 

The victory at Choa Chu Kang Stadium further solidified the Sailors’ position at the top of the league standings, with Daniel Ong’s charges extending their lead to six points before Sunday’s WPL fixtures.

Despite the seemingly comfortable final score, however, the Sailors initially found it tough going against a resilient Jaguars outfit, and struggled to break through their gritty defense in the first half. It marked the first time this season that the Sailors failed to find the back of the net before halftime.

Reflecting on what was an uncharacteristically underwhelming showing in the first 45 minutes for the Sailors, forward Dorcas Chu said, “We weren’t able to hit our game objectives despite trying our best in the first half as we were impatient and too eager to score.

“I think we could’ve been more patient and had more confidence in our passes and our shots. It’s quite a shame because we could’ve ended the game in the first half but the team still did really well after we got back on the same page during the break.”

Dorcas, who returned to the squad after missing last week’s win over Hougang United due to COVID-19, also credited Tanjong Pagar for working hard to make life difficult for her side.

“Everywhere you turned, there were defenders,” the 20-year-old recounted. “They worked really well as a team, and it’s a reminder for us to not be complacent because every team will fight. It’s all about who wants the ball more, and in the first half, I think they (Tanjong Pagar) came out on top.”

However, the Sailors regrouped after the break and eventually found the breakthrough, with Sara Hayduchok and Madison Telmer scoring in the 51st and 64th minutes respectively. Substitute Cara Chang then added the icing on the cake with her first goal of the season in the dying minutes of the game to make it 3-0.

Now having scored in back-to-back games, Sara is determined to continue being a threat in front of goal, especially during set-pieces.

“I feel like I’m just doing my due diligence…I’m placed there (in the box) because of my height and heading precision so now that I’m finishing the job, I want to do it consistently,” Sara, whose primary position is as a centre-back, explained.

“I already know the opponents will put the tallest and strongest girl on me because I have those two traits in my favour too. I wish I could play it more low-key but to be honest, I love a good challenge, so I just want to keep fighting for those headers.”

Nonetheless, Sara believes that the team needs to be more confident in front of goal, as the former Tampines Rovers player elaborated, “I have seen consistently in Singapore football that players struggle to take the shot when it’s open. I do hope that we can improve on that as a team.”

Sara added that she was proud to see how well the promoted batch of young players – which includes 15-year-old Cara – has been doing so far this season.

The Filipino-American mused, “I really see all of our younger players as talented as our senior players so for me, I don’t feel any sense of surprise. I feel so much happiness for them.

“The same way I feel relief after doing my job to head the ball in, they do too, when they do their respective jobs. They’re on the team on merit, and we want to keep it that way.”

The Sailors will take a two-week break before returning to the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on 4 May for their next WPL match, against Balestier Khalsa.