The Stags stretched their lead at the top of the S.League after beating Hougang United 3-2.
Tampines Rovers coach Tay Peng Kee praised substitute Khairul Amri for his impact in the 3-2 win over Hougang United.
The Stags now lead the division by six points ahead of Albirex Niigata after the five-goal thriller at the Hougang Stadium with Amri playing a significant role after his introduction on the half-hour mark for the ineffective Ahmed Fahmie.
And Tay revealed he knew the Singapore international would change the game for Tampines against a resolute home side.
“We didn’t play well today [Thursday] but the most important thing is that we won the game,” he told Fox Sports Asia.
“These three points are crucial.”
“We were looking a bit vulnerable but I had no worries because I knew Amri would deliver when I brought him on.
“Amri’s always dangerous. He’s just come back from a hamstring injury so we don’t want to push him too much, but he played well tonight [Thursday].”
Liam Shotton’s close-range finish put Hougang ahead in the 26th minute before Shaiful Esah curled in a delightful free-kick to equalise for Tampines nine minutes after Amri’s introduction.
It didn’t take him long to get his name on the score as he headed in Shahdan Sulaiman’s corner on the stroke of half time, but the home team refused to accept defeat and made it 2-2 when Igor Cerina fired home from a tight angle in the 65th minute.
But with just eight minutes remaining Amri exchanged passes with Aleksandar Duric before crossing for Kunihiro Yamashita to convert the winner for Tampines and move them a step closer to the title.