News • May 7, 2016
Ruthless White Swans Take 10-Man Tigers To The Cleaners
Written by: Nicholas Wong
Albirex Niigata cemented their position at the top of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League table after thrashing 10-man Balestier Khalsa 6-0 at Jurong East Stadium on Friday night.
A brace from Hiroyoshi Kamata plus goals from Atsushi Shirota, Naofumi Tanaka, Tatsuro Inui and Kento Nagasaki ensured that the White Swans grabbed their biggest win of the season to date.
The visitors, who started the game with a five-man defence, made a bright start, pressing and harrying the hosts, but fell behind just seven minutes into the game when Shirota made a low dive at the far post to meet Nagasaki’s corner and head the ball home.
The Tigers had a golden opportunity to pull level in the 20th minute when Fadli Kamis found himself free in front of goal six-yards out, but slashed his shot just wide of the post.
Tatsuro Inui was next to try his luck from 20-yards out five minutes later, but his piledriver was unable to trouble Balestier custodian Zaiful Nizam.
Albirex continued to find success breaching Balestier’s defence and almost increased their lead in the 27th minute when Mikiya Yamada played Atsushi Kawata through on goal, but the latter smashed his shot into the side-netting.
However, the White Swans succeeded in increasing their lead a minute later when Kamata side-footed Naofumi Tanaka’s low cross at the near post into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.
The Tigers were let off the hook in the 38th minute when Zaiful spilled Kawata’s free-kick and Kamata reacted the first to stab the ball into the net. However, the flag was already up for offside.
Two mistakes by Hanafi Salleh in a space of a minute saw the defender making a hash of his clearance and nearly allowing Kamata to score, before tripping Tanaka from behind in the 18-yard box moments later, earning himself a red card and conceding a penalty to Albirex.
Unfortunately for the White Swans and their fans, there were no celebrations for a third goal after Inui stepped up and sent his spot-kick crashing off the frame of the goalpost.
The White Swans replicated their start to the first-half after the break and found the back of the net twice in a space of three minutes as they ran rings around the 10-man Tigers’ defence.
Tanaka brilliantly side-stepped a challenge and curled the ball home in the 54th minute, before Inui headed home Shuto Inaba’s cross from close-range three minutes later.
The game was well and truly over for Balestier in the 66th minute when an unmarked Nagasaki swept home Inaba’s defence-splitting pass from close range.
Kamata then got his second goal, and Albirex’s sixth of the night, by slamming home the rebound from close range after Kazuki Mine’s header had came off the upright of the goalpost.
Albirex Niigata (S) coach Naoki Nauro: “I am satisfied with the scoreline and the clean sheet because we scored six goals and didn’t allow them to score. We also scored at a good timing in the first-half.
“The goals were scored by different players as well, so I am very pleased with that.”
Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic: “It was very tough, nothing was working today. I take all the blame for my tactical decisions. It was my mistake.
“We played with a five-man defence because wanted to stop Albirex’s crosses but it did not work.”
Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK) (C), Mikiya Yamada, Kento Fujihara, Atsushi Shirota, Naofumi Tanaka, Tomoki Menda (Rui Kumada 53′), Shuto Inaba, Kento Nagasaki, Tatsuro Inui (Masaya Jitozono 80′), Atsushi Kawata (Kazuki Mine 63′), Hiroyoshi Kamata
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C) (Daniel Ong 46′), Fadli Kamis, Hanafi Salleh, Nurullah Hussein (Jamil Ali 32′), Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Ahmad Syahir, Emir Lotinac, Fazli Ayob, Smajovic Sadin, Fadhil Noh, Miroslav Kristic (Syafiq Zainal 59′)