News Singapore Premier League • May 24, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 11: Roundup
Puvan Raj of Balestier Khalsa (L) and Shodai Nishikawa of Tanjong Pagar United contest the ball, 23 May 2021
SINGAPORE, 24 MAY 2021 – There was no lack of excitement over the weekend in the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) as Hougang United got the better of Tampines Rovers, while the frontrunners of Albirex Niigata (S) and Lion City Sailors were made to sweat in victories over struggling opponents. Elsewhere, Balestier Khalsa ended a five-match losing streak ahead of the international break as we recap all the action below…
Shahdan special decides tight contest for Sailors
Sailors 1-0 Young Lions | Jalan Besar | 22 May
Shahdan Sulaiman 44’
Just like the previous week against Albirex, the Young Lions put up a commendable performance but came away empty handed. The match-decider came just before the break through Shahdan, whose delightful free-kick left the goalkeeper beaten all ends up. The Sailors, who had a one-man advantage after Syahrul Sazali had been dismissed for the foul that led to the goal, were then denied a bigger win by a combination of the woodwork and great goalkeeping by Nurshafiq Zaini.
Club news: Sailors – Hard work, winning mentality key to victory over Young Lions: Amirul Adli
- The Young Lions have not won in their first 11 matches for the first time since not winning in their first 18 in 2017, while the Sailors extended their unbeaten streak to eight matches.
- The Sailors have now scored in 23 straight SPL matches, while the Young Lions have conceded in their last 26.
- Seven of Shahdan’s last 10 SPL goals are from direct free-kicks.
- Sailors goalkeeper Hassan Sunny matched his 2020 tally of four clean sheets.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK)(C), Aniq Raushan, Amirul Adli, Jorge Fellipe, Naqiuddin Eunos, Shahdan Sulaiman (Song Uiyoung 71’), Diego Lopes, Saifullah Akbar, Gabriel Quak (Adam Swandi 90’+1), Stipe Plazibat, Haiqal Pashia (Faris Ramli 59’).
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Tajeli Salamat, Aqhari Abdullah, Hafiz Nor.
Young Lions: Nurshafiq Zaini (GK), Ryhan Stewart, Syed Akmal, Syahrul Sazali (C), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Harhys Stewart, Jacob Mahler, Zamani Zamri (Khairin Nadim 77’), Hami Syahin (Rezza Rezky 83’), Joel Chew (Amir Syafiz 73’), Ilhan Fandi.
Unused subs: Dylan Pereira (GK), Nazhiim Harman, Abdul Rasaq Akeem, Raoul Suhaimi.
Red Card: Syahrul Sazali (Young Lions) 42’, Song Uiyoung (Sailors) 84’
Cheetahs display indomitable spirit again
Tampines 2-3 Hougang | Our Tampines Hub | 22 May
Yasir Hanapi 12’, Boris Kopitović 62’ | Nazrul Nazari 45’+1, Tomoyuki Doi 50’, Idraki Adnan 55’
Tampines were looking good to avenge a 5-1 defeat from March and captain Yasir Hanapi put them ahead early on through a neat downwards header from Armin Bošnjak’s cross. However, Hougang turned the game on its head midway through. Nazrul snaffled up the rebound off Doi’s parried effort before the latter benefited from Shawal Anuar’s interception and subsequent pass to put the Cheetahs ahead. The in-form Idraki then extended their lead with a tap-in after Hafiz Sujad’s shot was tipped onto the post, before Kopitović’s header off another Bošnjak cross ensured a grandstand finale that Hougang saw out.
- Tampines have lost just twice in 17 games at OTH since August 2019 – both defeats have been inflicted by Hougang, who are now undefeated in their last three visits there.
- Tampines lost for a second time after taking the lead while Hougang won for a third time after conceding first – both league-best records so far.
- Tampines extended their scoring streak to 46 straight SPL matches.
- Nazrul scored his first goal since August 2019 when he netted in Hougang’s 4-2 win over Young Lions – his goal meant Hougang have 12 different scorers this season – the most by any team.
- Doi is the third player to both assist and score in a game for a third time this season.
- Doi has now scored 25 SPL goals in 25 games.
- Idraki scored in three consecutive games for the first time, while Kopitović has scored in each of his last three outings against Hougang.
- Bošnjak’s two assists took him to the top of the charts with eight.
- Bošnjak assisted Kopitović for the third time, the joint-most among pairs together with Albirex’s Kazuki Hashioka-Kiyoshiro Tsuboi and Balestier’s Shuhei Hoshino-Šime Žužul.
- Doi and Bošnjak have assisted five different players each – the joint-most in the league.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Ryaan Sanizal, Madhu Mohana, Baihakki Khaizan, Amirul Haikal (Irwan Shah 58’), Kyoga Nakamura, Iman Hakim (Taufik Suparno 58’), Zehrudin Mehmedović, Yasir Hanapi (C) (Fazrul Nawaz 78’), Armin Bošnjak, Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy, Marc Ryan Tan, Daniel Bennett, Andrew Aw.
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Maksat Dzhakybaliev, Anders Aplin (C), Farhan Zulkifli, Idraki Adnan (Shahfiq Ghani 69’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Hafiz Sujad, Shawal Anuar (Muhaimin Suhaimi 75’), Naufal Azman (Afiq Noor 60’), Tomoyuki Doi.
Unused subs: Mukundan Maran (GK), Shahril Ishak, Gilberto Fortunato, Jarrel Ong.
Jaguars denied second win
Tanjong Pagar 2-2 Balestier | Jurong East | 23 May
Reo Nishiguchi 33’, Khairul Amri pen. 85’ | Šime Žužul 60’, 86’
Tanjong Pagar smelled the chance for a second victory of the season when Nishiguchi connected well with a cut-back from Japanese compatriot Shodai Nishkawa to put them ahead. However, the introduction of Žužul off the bench created all sorts of problems as the Croatian soon produced a sublime lob off Shuhei Hoshino’s knock-on to restore parity. Amri thought he had won it for the Jaguars with a late penalty conversion after a handball in the area, but Žužul showed great strength and awareness to hold off three defenders before equalising again almost immediately to ensure the Tigers claimed a share of the spoils.
- Balestier are now undefeated in the last eight encounters since February 2013 as they ended a five-match losing streak in the league.
- Tanjong Pagar have now exceeded their 2020 tally of five points.
- Amri scored his first SPL goal since May 2019 when he netted the equaliser for Tampines in a 3-3 draw against Hougang.
- Žužul scored in four straight games for the first time since July 2019 – he has now matched his 2020 tally of six goals. His brace took him to 21 SPL career goals.
- Hoshino has five assists for the season after just accumulating three in 2020 – he assisted Žužul for a third time, the joint-most among pairs along with Albirex’s Kazuki Hashioka-Kiyoshiro Tsuboi and Tampines’ Bošnjak-Kopitović.
- Aidil Johari recorded his first career assist.
- Ridhuan Muhammad made his first SPL appearance since November 2017 when he came on for Warriors FC in a 1-1 draw against Hougang, while Iqbal Hussain made his Balestier debut.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Shahrin Saberin, Delwinder Singh, Faritz Hameed (C), Naufal Ilham (Raihan Rahman 59’), Rusyaidi Salime, Blake Ricciuto, Shodai Nishikawa (Anaqi Ismit 41’), Daniel Martens (Ridhuan Muhammad 72’), Khairul Amri, Reo Nishiguchi.
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Prakash Raj, Ammirul Emmran, Suhairi Sabri.
Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK)(C), Aidil Johari, Fadli Kamis, Amer Hakeem, Ensar Brunčević, Ahmad Syahir, Gareth Low, Kristijan Krajček, Hazzuwan Halim (Iqbal Hussain 65’), Puvan Raj (Šime Žužul 46’), Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Riki Kimura (GK), Gautam Selvamany, Aqil Yazid, Keshav Kumar, Ryan Praveen.
Sublime free-kick wins it for leaders
Geylang 1-2 Albirex | Our Tampines Hub | 23 May
Matheus Moresche 46’ | Kosuke Chiku 14’, Takahiro Tezuka 66’
The champions remain unbeaten this season, although their eighth victory did not come easy. After Chiku had put them ahead with a brilliant curler from the edge of the area, Geylang rallied and equalised with Moresche’s smart disguised finish after being released by Firdaus Kasman. However, the Eagles’ hard work was undone by a set-piece; Tezuka whipped a pearler into the top left corner from 25 yards that left Hairul Syirhan grasping at thin air.
- Albirex won by a single-goal margin for a third straight meeting between the two sides.
- Albirex are undefeated in their first 11 games for the first time since their unbeaten 2018 season.
- Geylang have now conceded in 15 straight SPL games since November 2020.
- Tezuka scored his second match-winning goal of the season – the most of any player in the league. He also scored the decider in the 1-0 victory the last time both sides met in April.
Geylang: Wayne Chew (GK) (Hairul Syirhan 46’), Ilhan Noor, Barry Maguire, Yuki Ichikawa (C), Darren Teh, Firdaus Kasman, Elijah Lim, Fareez Farhan (Faizal Roslan 46’), Amy Recha, Matheus Moresche (Iqram Rifqi 74’), Christopher van Huizen.
Unused subs: Harith Kanadi, Azri Suhaili, Furqan Raoff, Kieran Teo.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Kazuki Hashioka (C), Shuya Yamashita, Reo Kunimoto, Yu Tokiwa, Takahiro Tezuka, Kosuke Chiku, Nicky Melvin Singh (Fumiya Suzuki 58’), Ong Yu En (Makoto Ito 64’), Ryoya Taniguchi (Mahiro Takahashi 90’+3), Ryosuke Nagasawa.
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Yasuhiro Hanada, Fairoz Hasan, Tsubasa Kawanishi.