Singapore Premier League • October 25, 2014
Albirex Keep Faint Title Hopes Alive
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
Albirex Niigata (S) keep their title hopes alive after a slender 2-1 win over Home United in a televised Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League match at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
With the win, Albirex are now on 44 points, two behind fellow title contenders Brunei DPMM and six behind league leaders Warriors FC. The White Swans will need to take maximum points from their remaining two games, while hoping other results go their way to win the league title.
Kento Nagasaki put his team in the driving seat early in the game before Lee Kwan Woo equalised with a stunner a couple of minutes later.
Kazuki Sakamoto then regained the lead for his side before half-time to award his side all three points.
Albirex started the game aggressively and created several chances in the opening ten minutes as they looked to grab an early lead.
Sakamoto had his snapshot saved by Shahril Jantan before they opened the accounts nine minutes into the game.
A miscommunication caused captain Noh Rahman to lose the ball and Nagasaki capitalised on the former’s mistake as he raced 40 yards before slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Just two minutes later, Home retaliated with a wonderful goal through Lee.
The former South Korean international executed perfect technique in his volley to send the ball into the bottom corner of the net from just outside the penalty box.
The White Swans were put in front once again 15 minutes before the interval, this time through their top-scorer Sakamoto.
The forward took his total goal tally for the season to 21 by receiving a pass in the penalty box before belting the ball into the back of the net.
The Protectors tried to equalise for the second time but nothing went their way. Camara forced Kenjiro Ogino into a low save with five minutes to go to half-time, before Lee’s composed finish was parried away by the custodian in the second half.
Nagasaki could have collected a brace for himself and extended the lead if not for the woodwork, as his cheeky shot crashed onto the post.
The rest of the second half was pretty tight as both defences remained unbreachable, before the man in the middle blew his final whistle for the evening.
The Japanese will next play DPMM and Warriors to conclude the season and they need to collect maximum points to keep their title hopes alive, while Home would be looking to finish the season as high as possible after league triumph is no way in their reach.