News • June 14, 2016
Albirex 10 points clear after edging five-goal thriller against Warriors
Written by: Ryan Low
Substitute Daichi Ishiyama scored in the 88th minute to help Albirex Niigata (S) edge Warriors FC 3-2 at the Jurong East Stadium on Friday night and notch up their eighth successive S.League win.
The Warriors were cruelly denied a point at the death after Nikola Rak and Jonathan Behe had scored to cancel out Tatsuro Inui’s early brace for Albirex.
The White Swans were utterly dominant in the first half-hour. Thus, it was to no surprise that they broke the deadlock in the 24th minute.
After seeing his shot come off the left-hand post, Inui followed up and got his rewards. Syaqir Sulaiman’s attempted clearance got a ricochet off him, before flying past a helpless Yazid Yasin in the Warriors goal.
The left-footed playmaker was at the right place at the right time again two minutes later to sweep home Naofumi Tanaka’s teasing ball in from the left and put his side two goals up.
Credit to the Warriors, they did not waver despite the poor start and managed to halve the deficit eight minutes before the break.
Croatian midfielder Rak showed some nifty footwork at the edge of the box to make space for himself, before firing home a sizzling left-footed grounder past Albirex custodian Yosuke Nqzawa.
That was the first goal which Albirex had conceded at home this season and it duly lifted the Warriors’ spirits as they carried where they left off after the restart.
The nine-time champions finally drew level on 65 minutes as French forward Behe swept home his 10th goal of the season from just inside the area after benefiting from Rak’s low right-wing cross.
However, they were not able to hold out for the point as Albirex scored again two minutes from time.
Some slack defending from Warriors centre-back Kento Fukuda allowed Ishiyama to nip just ahead of him to loop the ball over a stranded Yazid for the match-winning goal.
To make matters worse, the Warriors ended the game with just nine men as captain Zulfadli Zainal Abidin and Ismail Yunos was dismissed in injury time.
The result meant the uniformed outfit went nine successive matches without a league win, while Albirex extended their lead at the top of the table to 10 points.
Albirex Niigata coach Naoki Naruo: “We conceded the two goals from our own mistakes and that made it difficult for us. But I was still happy with the performance because we have shown our style of football.
“At 2-2, I still believed we could win the game and we did it. Yes, we have a 10-point lead now, but as you can see, every game in the S.League is very difficult. What’s important now for us is to keep going and winning games.”
Warriors FC coach Razif Onn: “In the first half, we failed to anticipate their fast attacks, but we showed some good combination play to score two goals and come back into the game.
“In terms of performances, this was the best since I took over and I thought we deserved a point. But we were let down by some defensive lapses from our centre-backs. Such things should not happen in the last few minutes of the game and it’s definitely disappointing to lose in this manner.”
Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK, C), Mikiya Yamada, Kento Fujihara, Atsushi Shirota, Naofumi Tanaka, Shuto Inaba, Tomoki Menda, Kento Nagasaki, Tatsuro Inui (Masaya Jitozono 68’), Atsushi Kawata (Kazuki Mine 83’), Hiroyoshi Kamata (Daichi Ishiyama 77’)
Warriors FC: Yazid Yasin (GK), Poh Yi Feng (Ismail Yunos 86’), Kento Fukuda, Madhu Mohana, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (C), Ridhuan Muhammad (Hafiz Nor 79’), Syaqir Sulaiman (Hafiz Sulaiman 72’), Emmeric Ong, Shaiful Esah, Nikola Rak, Jonathan Behe