News Singapore Premier League • September 27, 2021

2021 Singapore Premier League Round 20: Roundup

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Lion City Sailors attacker Song Uiyoung holds off Barry Maguire of Geylang International, 26 September 2021

 

SINGAPORE, 27 SEPTEMBER 2021 – It was a significant weekend in the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) title race as the Lion City Sailors took full advantage of Albirex Niigata (S)’s slip-up against Tampines Rovers to leapfrog the champions on goal difference. Kim Do-hoon’s men will now go into the final round of fixtures on 10 October on top of the table and on course to win their maiden league title. Elsewhere, Tanjong Pagar United edged the Young Lions to strengthen their stranglehold on fifth spot. We recap all the action below…

 

White Swans drop costly points
Albirex 0-0 Tampines | Jurong East Stadium | 24 September

In what was a must-win game to keep their title destiny in their own hands, Albirex huffed and puffed but simply could not bring the Tampines roof down. The White Swans threw the kitchen sink late on with Reo Kunimoto’s header denied by the crossbar as they dropped two potential crucial points in this tight title race – handing the initiative to the Sailors in the process.

 

Club news: Albirex – Draw Leaves White Swans’ Title Hopes Hanging by a Thread

 

Facts

  • With the point, Tampines sealed qualification for the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.
  • This was only the second 0-0 draw of the season – Albirex were also involved on the first occasion back in March when they were held by Balestier Khalsa at the same venue.
  • Tampines kept a first clean sheet in 11 SPL matches – it was also only their third shutout of the season.
  • Albirex failed to score for the first time in 17 league matches – this is only the second time that that they did not do so in 20 games this season.
  • Tampines drew a blank for the first time in 54 league matches – Albirex were also the last team to stop them from scoring prior to this in a 0-0 draw at OTH back in March 2019.
  • Albirex’s Takahiro Koga kept an eighth clean sheet – a league-leading figure ahead of Sailors’ Hassan Sunny (five).
  • Tampines’ Amir Mirza made his SPL debut.
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), Mahiro Takahashi, Yasuhiro Hanada, Makoto Ito, Fikri Junaidi.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Andrew Aw (Amir Mirza 84’), Daniel Bennett, Baihakki Khaizan, Amirul Haikal, Kyoga Nakamura, Iman Hakim (Irwan Shah 72’), Zehrudin Mehmedović, Armin Bošnjak, Yasir Hanapi (C) (Taufik Suparno 78’), Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Marc Ryan Tan, Danish Siregar, Ethan Pinto.

 

Jaguars looking good to finish fifth
Young Lions 1-2 Tanjong Pagar | Jalan Besar Stadium | 26 September
Glenn Kweh 23′ | Reo Nishiguchi 7′, Luiz Junior pen. 68′

Tanjong Pagar won for the first time in five matches and Nishiguchi nodded in captain Ridhuan Muhammad’s right-wing cross to put them on the way early on. Kweh levelled for the home side by curling home from the edge of the box after a superb solo run, but the Jaguars clinched the three points when Luiz converted from the spot after Shodai Nishikawa was brought down by Syahrul Sazali in the area.

 

Facts

  • Tanjong Pagar are unbeaten in all three encounters this season after losing both meetings in 2020.
  • Young Lions have now conceded in each of their last 35 SPL matches, while Tanjong Pagar have conceded in each of their last 14 with still only one clean sheet this season.
  • Ridhuan made his first SPL start since October 2017 – his last also came against Young Lions in Warriors FC’s 1-0 defeat back then.
  • Nishiguchi scored his first headed goal of his SPL career – he now has 13 to his name.
  • Luiz has now scored in all five career appearances against Young Lions, tallying a total of seven goals.
  • Tanjong Pagar’s Raihan Rahman completed the full 90 minutes in successive games for the first time since December 2020.
Young Lions: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Ryhan Stewart, Nazhiim Harman, Jacob Mahler (C), Syahrul Sazali, Raoul Suhaimi (Danish Qayyum 83’), Joel Chew (Daniel Goh 89’), Harhys Stewart, Amir Syafiz, Khairin Nadim, Glenn Kweh (Zamani Zamri 59’).
Unused subs: Putra Anugerah (GK), Syabil Hisham, Nor Hakim, Alif Iskandar.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Prakash Raj (Shahrin Saberin 59’), Blake Ricciuto, Shakir Hamzah, Shodai Nishikawa, Rusyaidi Salime, Raihan Rahman, Ridhuan Muhammad (C) (Khairul Amri 46’), Fathullah Rahmat (Elfy Danish 90’+1), Reo Nishiguchi, Luiz Junior.
Unused subs: Hariz Farid (GK), Anaqi Ismit, Ammirul Emmran, Naufal Ilham.

 

Sailors steer to the top
Geylang 0-3 Sailors | Our Tampines Hub | 26 September
Faris Ramli 32′, Song Uiyoung 39′, Hafiz Nor 86′

Geylang took the game to the visitors in the first half-hour, but it all unravelled when a defensive error allowed Faris to sweep home the Sailors’ opener. Song then produced an unstoppable finish after great work by Tajeli Salamat down the right to double the lead, before substitute Hafiz Nor punished yet another mistake to seal a resounding victory to lift them to the top of the standings. Failure by Albirex to match the Sailors’ result on the final day will see the latter win the title; if both are level on points, goal difference will be used as the tie-breaker (Sailors are better off by four currently), followed by number of goals scored (Sailors have scored nine more currently).

 

Club news: Geylang – Defeat at home  | Sailors – One step closer

 

Facts

  • Geylang have now lost the last 14 encounters since a 4-1 win over the Sailors’ predecessor Home United in October 2016.
  • The Sailors extended their unbeaten run to 17 league games – an ongoing club-record, while Geylang have now lost five out of their last six.
  • The Sailors have now scored in each of their last 32 SPL matches, while Geylang have conceded in their last 23 – they are the only team along with the Young Lions without a clean sheet in 2021.
  • The Sailors kept a first clean sheet under Kim after nine matches.
  • That was Hassan’s fifth shutout of the season – second-most in the league behind Koga (eight).
  • Faris scored in successive league matches for the first time since netting in six straight games for Hougang in September 2019.
  • Faris has accumulated two goals and five assists in nine outings under Kim after just one goal and one assist in his first 10 appearances of the season.
  • Geylang’s Umar Akhbar made his first SPL start since December 2020.
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Ilhan Noor (Danny Kim 77’), Yuki Ichikawa (C), Afiq Yunos, Harith Kanadi, Izzdin Shafiq (Darren Teh 72’), Umar Akhbar, Barry Maguire, Asshukrie Wahid (Fareez Farhan 63’), Matheus Moresche, Amy Recha.
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Adam Hakeem, Firdaus Kasman, Elijah Lim.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK) (C), Tajeli Salamat, Amirul Adli, Hariss Harun, Nur Adam Abdullah, Shahdan Sulaiman, Saifullah Akbar (Hafiz Nor 75’), Gabriel Quak (Adam Swandi 65’), Faris Ramli, Haiqal Pashia (Diego Lopes 46’), Song Uiyoung.
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Aqhari Abdullah, Naqiuddin Eunos, Amiruldin Asraf.

 

*The below was added on 4 October

 

Eagles soar up to sixth
Geylang 3-0 Sailors | Our Tampines Hub | 3 October
Amy Recha 61′, Ensar Brunčević O.G. 64′, Matheus Moresche 73′

Geylang ended a run of three straight defeats in style after a clinical second-half display. Half-time substitute Christopher van Huizen made all the difference as he teed up Amy to tap home, before forcing Tigers centre-back Brunčević to put through his own net. The 28-year-old then slid a pass to Moresche, who cut inside his man before firing in off the post to round off a handsome victory for the Eagles.

 

Club news: Geylang – Soaring Eagles tame the Tigers 

 

Facts

  • Geylang won by a three-goal margin for the first time since defeating Young Lions 3-0 in March 2020. The 3-0 win over Tanjong Pagar last November came as a result of the Jaguars fielding an ineligible player.
  • Geylang kept their first clean sheet in 24 matches since November 2020. The Young Lions is the only remaining SPL side without a clean sheet this season.
  • Amy scored in all three outings against Balestier this season, tallying a total of four goals.
  • Amy and Moresche are up to 11 goals each for the season – they have accounted for 22 out of 32 of the Eagles’ goals this season.
  • Van Huizen has assisted Amy four times in 2021 – the joint-most along with Albirex’s Taniguchi-Kondo and Hougang’s Yamzaki-Doi.
  • Geylang have benefitted from three own goals – no other team has more than one.
  • Geylang’s Iqram Rifqi made his first SPL start since September 2019 in Home United’s 1-0 away loss to Albirex Niigata (S).
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Ilhan Noor (Darren Teh 85’), Abdil Qaiyyim, Yuki Ichikawa (C), Iqram Rifqi, Danny Kim, Azri Suhaili (Umar Akhbar 46’), Barry Maguire, Asshukrie Wahid (Christopher van Huizen 46’), Matheus Moresche, Amy Recha.
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Faizal Roslan, Fareez Farhan, Kieran Teo.
Balestier: Riki Kimura (GK), Fadli Kamis (C), Ensar Brunčević, Amer Hakeem, Ho Wai Loon (Ahmad Syahir 78’), Faizal Raffi (Aidil Johari 74’), Gareth Low, Hazzuwan Halim, Shuhei Hoshino, Puvan Raj (Iqbal Hussain 46’), Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Zacharial Leong (GK), Hariysh Krishnakumar, Joshua De Souza, Aqil Yazid.

 

*The below was added on 7 October

 

Tigers triumphant in final home game of season
Balestier 3-2 Hougang | Toa Payoh | 6 October 
Puvan Raj 10’, 35’, Šime Žužul 85’ | Gilberto Fortunato 53’, Shawal Anuar 62’ 

Balestier still have a fighting chance to finish fifth after pulling off a shock victory over Hougang. Young winger Puvan produced two clinical first-time finishes off Hazzuwan Halim’s deliveries to put the Tigers two up at half-time but Hougang drew level after the break with Fortunato capitalising on a loose ball to thump home before Shawal converted an exquisite lob off Shahfiq Ghani’s lofted ball. Balestier would have the last laugh though, as Žužul fired past Izwan Mahbud after a well-worked team move to seal three points for his side.

 

Facts

  • Balestier defeated Hougang for the first time in five meetings at Toa Payoh – their last victory against the Cheetahs at the venue prior to this came in August 2014.
  • Balestier have now won their last three home games – the last time they won three straight matches at Toa Payoh was back in November 2015.
  • Hougang have now conceded in their last six matches – they have now conceded 11 goals after 80 minutes, the most in the league.
  • Puvan scored his first SPL goals – he is the fourth Balestier player to score a brace this season.
  • Fortunato scored in three straight SPL games for the first time.
  • Žužul has now scored in four out of his last five outings against Hougang.
  • Žužul scored his 15th goal of the season – that brings his SPL tally to 30 since his arrival in the league in 2019.
  • Hazzuwan is the first player to chalk up three assists in a game since Faris Ramli did for the Sailors in a 4-1 win over Tampines in August.
Balestier: Zacharial Leong (GK), Ahmad Syahir, Fadli Kamis (C), Ensar Brunčević, Ho Wai Loon, Aidil Johari (Aiman Zavyan 85’), Gareth Low, Hazzuwan Halim (Joshua De Souza 90’+2), Shuhei Hoshino, Puvan Raj (Faizal Raffi 64’), Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Riki Kimura (GK), Hariysh Krishnakumar, Aqil Yazid, Keshav Kumar.
Hougang: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Maksat Dzhakybaliev, Lionel Tan (C), Farhan Zulkifli, Josiah Phua (Shahril Ishak 46’), Shahfiq Ghani, Naufal Azman (Shawal Anuar 46’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Tomoyuki Doi, Gilberto Fortunato.
Unused subs: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Anders Aplin, Hafiz Sujad, Fabian Kwok, Hairil Sufi.

 

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