News Singapore Premier League • September 20, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 19: Roundup
Ryoya Taniguchi wheels away after after scoring the equaliser for Albirex Niigata (S), 17 September 2021
SINGAPORE, 20 SEPTEMBER 2021 – Albirex Niigata (S) are now in the driving seat to retain their AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) crown after a thrilling draw against the Lion City Sailors to remain five points ahead of the latter. While the Sailors have a game in hand, they will be powerless as long as Albirex win their remaining two matches. Elsewhere, Tampines Rovers edged the Young Lions to end their recent torrid run of form while Tanjong Pagar United frustrated Hougang United. We recap all the action below…
*Note: The roundup between Tampines Rovers and Lion City Sailors will be added after their match on Tuesday, 21 September.
Taniguchi strikes late, late blow to Sailors
Sailors 1-1 Albirex | Jalan Besar Stadium | 17 September
Haiqal Pashia 23′ | Ryoya Taniguchi 90’+4
With Pashia clinically converting Faris Ramli’s low cross midway through the first half, the Sailors led for large periods of the game and it looked like they had done enough to secure a crucial win in this top-of-the-table clash. That was until Taniguchi popped up in the box to meet Shuya Yamashita’s knock-on anad net the equaliser deep into injury time – breaking the Sailors’ hearts and handing the title initiative back to Albirex.
- Albirex remains the only team that the Sailors have failed to beat (in five encounters) since their 2020 inception.
- The last time both sides met before this, Taniguchi was also on the scoresheet in a 1-1 draw.
- The Sailors conceded in second-half injury time for the first time in their history.
- The Sailors are now unbeaten in 15 SPL matches – an ongoing club record.
- The Sailors have now scored in 30 straight SPL matches, while Albirex have netted in their last 16 – the White Swans only failed to score in one out of 19 matches this season.
- Pashia has scored two goals in his last four Sailors appearances after failing to net any in his first 17 outings for the club.
- Taniguchi scored in three straight SPL games for the first time.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK) (C), Tajeli Salamat, Hariss Harun, Jorge Fellipe (Amirul Adli 55’), Nur Adam Abdullah, Shahdan Sulaiman, Saifullah Akbar (Diego Lopes 70’), Gabriel Quak, Faris Ramli, Haiqal Pashia (Hafiz Nor 57’), Song Uiyoung.
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Aqhari Abdullah, Amiruldin Asraf, Adam Swandi.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Kazuki Hashioka (C), Shuya Yamashita, Reo Kunimoto, Yu Tokiwa, Kosuke Chiku, Takahiro Tezuka, Ryoya Taniguchi, Ong Yu En (Kuraba Kondo 46’), Fairoz Hasan (Kiyoshiro Tsuboi 46’), Ryosuke Nagasawa.
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Kiyoshiro Tsuboi, Mahiro Takahashi, Yasuhiro Hanada, Makoto Ito, Fikri Junaidi.
Stags regain winning feeling
Tampines 2-1 Young Lions | Our Tampines Hub | 18 September
Zehrudin Mehmedović 34′, Taufik Suparno 73′ | Jacob Mahler pen. 71′
After early pressure, Tampines got the breakthrough when Mehmedović’s free-kick got a deflection before flying past Ridhwan Fikri for the opening goal. However, the Young Lions – without suspended head coach Philippe Aw – rallied and levelled matters in the second half. Mahler was calmness personified from the spot after Zulqarnaen Suzliman was adjudged to have been brought down. The Stags would run out winners though, with super-sub Taufik finishing off Mehmedović’s stunning back-flick pass to settle the game.
- Tampines won for the first time in seven SPL matches – ending their worst run of form since May 2019.
- Tampines have now won the last five encounters and are undefeated in the last eight, since losing 2-1 away in August 2018.
- Tampines have now scored in each of their last 52 SPL matches, while Young Lions have conceded in each of their last 34.
- Mehmedović scored in two straight SPL matches for the first time – in fact he has scored in three out of the last four matches for the Stags. He is now only one goal away from matching his 2019 tally of seven.
- Four out of Mahler’s last five SPL goals have come from the penalty spot – he has now scored three goals in each of his last three seasons.
- Taufik scored for a second straight encounter against Young Lions – six out of his last seven SPL goals since 2020 have come as a substitute.
- Tampines’ Andrew Aw made his first start since December 2020.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Andrew Aw (Taufik Suparno 61’), Baihakki Khaizan, Ryaan Sanizal (Madhu Mohana 24’), Amirul Haikal, Kyoga Nakamura, Zehrudin Mehmedović, Irwan Shah, Marc Ryan Tan (Armin Bošnjak 46’), Yasir Hanapi (C), Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Huzaifah Aziz, Daniel Bennett, Iman Hakim.
Young Lions: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Ryhan Stewart, Jacob Mahler (C), Danish Irfan (Syahrul Sazali 78’), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Shah Shahiran (Amir Syafiz 85’), Rezza Rezky, Zamani Zamri, Joel Chew, Daniel Goh (Glenn Kweh 46’), Khairin Nadim.
Unused subs: Dylan Pereira (GK), Nazhiim Harman, Danish Qayyum, Arshad Shamim.
Jaguars cause problems for Hougang again
Tanjong Pagar 1-1 Hougang | Jurong East Stadium | 18 September
Khairul Amri 53′ | Gilberto Fortunato 9′
Hougang took an early lead with Fortunato displaying superb control to hook home a volley from a tight angle. However, Tanjong Pagar – whose pre-match preparations were disrupted by a bout of stomach flu that affected several members of the team – showed spirit to claw a point from the more-fancied visitors. Substitute Amri was on hand at the back post to thump home Reo Nishiguchi’s pin-point cross for yet another goal against Hougang, who nonetheless virtually guaranteed a top-three finish with the point.
- Hougang have failed to beat Tanjong Pagar in all three encounters this season – two draws and one loss. In fact, the Cheetahs have won only once in five meetings since the Jaguars returned to the SPL in 2020.
- Tanjong Pagar have now conceded in each of their last 13 SPL matches; they have kept just one clean sheet in 19 games this season.
- Fortunato has scored in his last two games for Hougang after netting just one in his first seven appearances for the club.
- Amri has now come off the bench to score in three out of his last four appearances against Hougang.
- Tanjong Pagar’s Raihan Rahman started and completed the full 90 minutes for just the second time this season – the first came in a 5-0 loss to the Sailors back in March.
- Hougang’s Shahfiq Ghani completed the full 90 minutes for just the fourth time since 2019 – it was also his first full match since November 2020.
- Hougang’s Izwan Mahbud is still yet to win against Tanjong Pagar in his career after five outings.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Faritz Hameed (C), Shahrin Saberin, Shakir Hamzah, Naufal Ilham (Ridhuan Muhammad 66’), Raihan Rahman, Fathullah Rahmat, Shodai Nishikawa, Daniel Martens (Khairul Amri 46’), Luiz Junior (Ammirul Emmran 85’), Reo Nishiguchi.
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Prakash Raj, Suhairi Sabri, Hadiputradila Saswadimata.
Hougang: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Fabian Kwok (C), Anders Aplin, Farhan Zulkifli (Shawal Anuar 80’), Kishson Philip (Muhaimin Suhaimi 46’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Shahfiq Ghani, Naufal Azman (Shahril Ishak 46’), Tomoyuki Doi, Gilberto Fortunato.
Unused subs: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Hafiz Sujad, Khairul Nizam, Josiah Phua.
*Below portion updated on 22 September
Ruthless Sailors seal ACL qualification
Tampines 1-6 Sailors | Our Tampines Hub | 21 September
Hariss Harun O.G. 51′ | Haiqal Pashia 37′, Gabriel Quak 56′, Song Uiyoung 67′, 79′, Faris Ramli 73′, Daniel Bennett O.G. 77′
Pashia put the Sailors ahead late into the first half with a poacher’s finish, before Tampines levelled matters after the break when Hariss inadvertently hooked Armin Bošnjak’s cross into his own net. The visitors regained the lead shortly after with Quak volleying home from close range, before Song and Faris benefitted from Tampines’ defensive lapses to put their side 4-1 up. Tampines captain Bennett then unfortunately put through his own goal via Faris Ramli’s cross, before Song applied the coup de grace late on to finish off a lethal counter-attacking move. The result meant the Sailors sealed qualification into the 2022 AFC Champions League (ACL) group stage as this season’s best-placed local team.
Club news: Sailors – Song: We must keep our heads, our job is not yet done
- The Sailors have put 13 goals past the Stags in three encounters this season.
- Tampines have still yet to beat any of their fellow top four sides this season, tallying two draws and six defeats.
- The Sailors extended their unbeaten run to 16 SPL matches, while Tampines have won just one of their last eight league games.
- Tampines have now conceded in 10 straight league games; they have now conceded 50 goals in 19 matches in 2021 and no side have let in more. The last time they allowed half a century of goals in a season was back in 2001 with 55 in a 33-game season.
- The Sailors are still waiting for their first clean sheet under Kim Do-hoon after eight outings.
- Tampines have now scored in each of their last 53 games, while the Sailors have netted in each of their last 31.
- Pashia scored in successive games for the first time since netting three in a row for Young Lions in July 2018 – he has now scored three in his last five Sailors appearances after failing to net his first 17 outings for the club.
- Quak have scored in all three outings against Tampines this season, tallying four goals – he has now equalled his season-best tally of 11 goals in all competitions (with Warriors FC in 2019).
- Song scored his first goals in 11 games – he last netted a brace back in March in a 5-0 win over Tanjong Pagar.
- Faris scored his first SPL goal from outside the box since October 2017 when he netted in Home United’s 4-0 win over Young Lions – his last 17 goals (16 for Hougang in 2019 and one for Sailors this season) have come from either in the box or from the penalty spot.
- This is the first league game since May 2014 where each side scored an own goal each. Marin Vidosevic and Abdil Qaiyyim put through their own net respectively in Tampines’ 3-3 draw with Warriors FC back then.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Andrew Aw (Marc Ryan Tan 76′), Madhu Mohana, Daniel Bennett (C), Irwan Shah, Kyoga Nakamura, Iman Hakim (Huzaifah Aziz 46′), Zehrudin Mehmedović, Armin Bošnjak (Taufik Suparno 63′), Amirul Haikal, Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Amir Mirza, Danish Siregar, Ethan Pinto.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK) (C), Tajeli Salamat, Amirul Adli, Hariss Harun, Nur Adam Abdullah, Shahdan Sulaiman, Saifullah Akbar (Adam Swandi 76′), Gabriel Quak (Diego Lopes 63′), Faris Ramli, Haiqal Pashia (Hafiz Nor 60′), Song Uiyoung.
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Aqhari Abdullah, Naqiuddin Eunos, Amiruldin Asraf.