News Singapore Premier League • December 3, 2020
Singapore Premier League Week 15: Roundup
Tomoyuki Doi (10) is congratulated by his Albirex team-mates after scoring the opening goal
SINGAPORE, 3 DECEMBER 2020 – In what has been an enthralling AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) title race, Albirex Niigata (S) took advantage of Tampines Rovers dropping points against Lion City Sailors as they dispatched Tanjong Pagar United to reclaim top spot with a game to go. Tampines did seal qualification for the 2021 AFC Champions League (ACL) group stages by finishing as the top local team and third-placed Sailors are assured of a spot in the second-tier AFC Cup. Meanwhile the chase for the second and final AFC Cup spot is also going down to the final day, with Balestier Khalsa and Geylang International picking up identical 2-1 victories over Hougang United and Young Lions to remain locked in the points tally. We recap all the action below…
Stags secure ACL berth, but surrender top spot
Sailors 1-1 Tampines | Bishan | 2 Dec
Shahril Ishak 45’ | Zehrudin Mehmedović 62’
It was a bittersweet night for Tampines as they confirmed their passage into next season’s ACL, but dropped two crucial points to surrender top spot to Albirex. The Sailors, who harboured ambitions of overhauling the Stags to finish as the top local team, took the initiative in the first half and got their rewards on the stroke of half-time. Veteran Shahril Ishak squeezed home a shot from close range on his second try, after great work by young winger Arshad Shamim down the left byline to cause chaos in the area. Tampines then introduced Jordan Webb after the break and he would play a crucial part in the equaliser. The Canadian talisman chested down Yasir Hanapi’s cross into the path of Mehmedović, whose first-time snapshot proved to be too hot to handle for Hassan Sunny. The Stags, however, could not find a second goal as they dropped to second in the standings.
- This is the first time the Sailors have dropped points after taking the lead and also with a half-time lead, having won all seven and five respectively prior to this game.
- Tampines are now unbeaten in the last seven encounters since being defeated 3-1 by the Sailors’ predecessor Home United in the second leg of the 2018 RHB Singapore Cup quarter-finals.
- Shahril is the oldest player to score in the SPL at 36 years 314 days since Daniel Bennett (40y 248d) netted in Tampines’ 2-1 away defeat to Brunei DPMM in September 2018.
- Mehmedović’s goal meant Tampines have now scored in 33 straight SPL matches.
- Both Mehmedović’s goals this season came against the Sailors and were assisted by Webb.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK)(C), Aqhari Abdullah (Faizal Roslan 56’), Tajeli Salamat, Kaishu Yamazaki, Naqiuddin Eunos, Shahdan Sulaiman, Song Uiyoung, Saifullah Akbar (Izddin Shafiq 74’), Gabriel Quak, Arshad Shamim (Hafiz Nor 74’), Shahril Ishak (Adam Swandi 62’).
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Abdil Qaiyyim, Aizal Murhamdani.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Ryaan Sanizal (Madhu Mohana 46’), Daniel Bennett, Amirul Adli, Irwan Shah, Kyoga Nakamura, Shah Shahiran, Zehrudin Mehmedović (Fazrul Nawaz 88’), Yasir Hanapi (C) (Taufik Suparno 80’), Danish Siregar (Jordan Webb 46’), Boris Kopitovic.
Unused subs: Danial Ilya (GK), Baihakki Khaizan, Andrew Aw.
Eagles revive AFC Cup qualification hopes
Young Lions 1-2 Geylang | Jurong West | 2 Dec
Zamani Zamri pen. 80’ | Darren Teh 52’, Amy Recha pen. 86’
Geylang’s hopes of reaching the AFC Cup for the first time since 2010 were boosted after this narrow victory over second-from-bottom Young Lions. The Eagles broke the deadlock early into the second half when right-back Teh lashed in a crisp half-volley off Christopher Van Huizen’s left-wing cross. However, Mohd Noor Ali’s side then went down to 10 men when Khairul Nizam was given a straight red for dissent, before Young Lions grabbed an equaliser through Zamani’s penalty after Ilhan Fandi was fouled by Hairul Syirhan. Geylang would reclaim the lead late on though as substitute Amy Recha converted from the spot after Teh was brought down by Ridhwan Fikri. The result meant Geylang remain level on points with fourth-place Balestier, but behind due to an inferior goal difference.
- Geylang are now unbeaten in the last three encounters since a 2-1 loss at Our Tampines Hub (OTH) in June 2019.
- Young Lions have not beaten Geylang at home in 15 encounters since a 3-2 win at Jalan Besar in March 2011.
- Young Lions have now conceded five penalties this season – the most of any team.
- Young Lions are still yet to keep a clean sheet this season after 13 games.
- Geylang were awarded their first penalty of the season – Balestier and Tanjong Pagar are the remaining two teams without a penalty in 2020.
- Nine yellow cards were handed out – the joint-highest in a single game along with Tampines’ 1-0 victory over Balestier in the opening week of the season.
- Teh has now doubled his career goal tally – his first was a free-kick in Geylang’s 5-1 defeat to Home United in August 2018.
- Amy is the fourth player to score a match-winning goal for Geylang – the most of any team.
- Young Lion’s Nur Adam Abdullah accumulated five fouls in this game – he has now committed the most number of fouls by any player this season with 30.
Young Lions: Ridhwan Fikri (GK) (Nurshafiq Zainal 84’), Danial Crichton, Syed Akmal, Jacob Mahler (C) (Danish Irfan 52’), Sahffee Jubpre (Zamani Zamri 72’), Harhys Stewart, Ryhan Stewart, Amirul Haikal, Shahrulnizam Mazlan (Idraki Adnan 72’), Nur Adam Abdullah, Ilhan Fandi.
Unused subs: Marc Ryan Tan, Akmal Azman, Bill Mamadou.
Geylang: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Darren Teh, Shahrin Saberin, Yuki Ichikawa (C) (Fareez Farhan 90’), Harith Kanadi, Firdaus Kasman Umar Akhbar 46’), Barry Maguire, Azri Suhaili (Safirul Sulaiman 46’), Iqbal Hussain (Amy Recha 46’), Christopher Van Huizen, Zikos Chua (Khairul Nizam 46’).
Unused subs: Wayne Chew (GK), Nurullah Hussein.
White Swans take pole position
Albirex 3-0 Tanjong Pagar | Jurong East | 2 Dec
Tomoyuki Doi pen. 48’, 90’+3, Kotaro Takeda 89’
Albirex benefited from Tampines’ slip-up to go one point clear at the top, but the task was harder than expected. Kept at bay in the first half by bottom side Tanjong Pagar, it took a cheeky Panenka-style penalty by top scorer Doi shortly after the restart to break the deadlock after he was felled by Fashah Iskandar in the box. The White Swans then went on to seal victory with two identical late goals. Substitute Ryuya Mitsuzuka put in a teasing corner for centre-back Takeda to nod in off the bar, before repeating the trick with an outswinger for Doi to head in his second of the night at the near post. Keiji Shigetomi’s men will now just need to beat Hougang United on the final day to be confirmed as the 2020 SPL champions.
- Tanjong Pagar have still yet to beat Albirex after 16 league meetings in history.
- Tanjong Pagar are now one game away from becoming the first team in the league’s 25-year history not to win a single game all season.
- Tanjong Pagar have now conceded 10 headers – six from corners – the most of any team.
- Doi accumulated nine shots – the most by a player in a single match this season. He has now accumulated the most number of shots in each of his last eight appearances.
- Doi is the 10th player to score a brace this season.
- Doi has scored three headers this season – the most of any player.
- Doi is now on 11 goals – just three behind Sailors’ Stipe Plazibat in the race for the Golden Boot.
- Kei Okawa kept his seventh clean sheet of the season, the most of any player.
- Tanjong Pagar’s Julian Tan made his professional debut.
Albirex: Kei Okawa (GK), Kazuki Hashioka (C), Rio Sakuma, Kotaro Takeda, Hiroyoshi Kamata, Kenta Kurishima, Iman Hakim (Reo Nishiguchi 46’), Ryosuke Nagasawa, Fairoz Hasan (Ryuya Mitsuzuka 46’), Ryoya Taniguchi (Mahiro Takahashi 90’+3), Tomoyoki Doi.
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Gareth Low, Yasuhiro Hanada, Ong Yu En.
Tanjong Pagar: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Ammirul Emmran, Yann Motta, Syabil Hisham (Indera Iskandar 90’+3), Julian Tan (Faritz Hameed 62’), Ribiyanda Saswadimata (Luiz Junior 62’), Raihan Rahman (C), Suhairi Sabri, Suria Prakash (Farihin Farkhan 87’), Hadiputradila Saswadimata (Takahiro Tanaka 62’), Zulkiffli Hassim.
Unused subs: Joey Sim (GK), Nashrul Amin.
Tigers snuff out Cheetahs’ continental hopes
Hougang 1-2 Balestier | Hougang | 2 Dec
Justin Hui 10’ | Shuhei Hoshino 5’, Šime Žužul 76’
Balestier remained in the driving seat to finish as the third-best local team and snuffed out Hougang’s hopes of returning to the AFC Cup in the process. The Tigers got off to the best possible start when 2018 Golden Boot winner Hoshino swivelled on the edge of the area before sweeping home an instinctive left-footed shot that left Ridhuan Barudin rooted to the spot. The home side swiftly found an equaliser through young attacker Hui,who tapped in from a yard after a superb run by Shawal Anuar into the area. The game looked to be heading for a draw until a moment of brilliance. Kristijan Krajček floated in an inch-perfect cross from the right for Croatian compatriot Žužul, who escaped the attentions of two Hougang defenders to nod home the winner, leaving Marko Kraljevic’s side in fourth courtesy of a better goal difference.
- Balestier beat Hougang for the first time in five encounters.
- Balestier have conceded four times in the first 10 minutes – the most of any team.
- Hougang have conceded the first goal in their last five outings.
- Hougang have not won successive matches at Hougang Stadium since winning their first two league matches there in the 2017 season.
- Hoshino was also on the scoresheet when the two sides last met in a 2-2 draw at Bishan earlier in March.
- Hui scored his third career goal – it was also his first goal since August 2018 when he netted in Hougang’s 3-0 win over Geylang at Bedok.
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Muhaimin Suhaimi (Shahfiq Ghani 80’), Anders Aplin, Maksat Dzhakybaliev, Lionel Tan, Hafiz Sujad, Fabian Kwok (C), Nikesh Singh (Nazrul Nazari 72’), Afiq Noor, Justin Hui (Farhan Zulkifli 66’), Shawal Anuar.
Unused subs: Khairulhin Khalid (GK), Faiz Salleh, Daniel Martens, Emmeric Ong.
Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK)(C), Gaye Sameer (Fadli Kamis 46’), Danish Uwais, R. Aaravin, Ahmad Syahir, Zulfadhmi Suzliman (Yeo Hai Ngee 46’), Aarish Kumar (Jordan Emaviwe 72’), Kristijan Krajček, Hazzuwan Halim (Karthik Raj 90’+2), Šime Žužul, Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Jufri Taha, Puvan Raj.