News Singapore Premier League • October 12, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 21: Roundup
Lion City Sailors celebrate their victory, 10 October 2021
SINGAPORE, 12 OCTOBER 2021 – One of the tightest AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) title races ever was decided on Sunday night as the Lion City Sailors dispatched Balestier Khalsa to achieve a historic first-ever league title.
Going into the final day level on points with the Sailors, last season’s champions Albirex Niigata (S) were dethroned as they let slip a three-goal lead in a frustrating draw against Tanjong Pagar United in their concurrent game. The result also meant that the Jaguars finished fifth, ahead of Geylang International who held Tampines Rovers in the final Eastern Derby of the season.
Meanwhile already consigned to finishing bottom, Young Lions ended their season on a high by defeating third-placed Hougang United.
We recap all the action below…
Sailors complete successful voyage
Sailors 4-1 Balestier | Jalan Besar | 10 October
Song Uiyoung 8’, Gabriel Quak 41’, 82’, Diego Lopes 79’ | Aidil Johari 31’
Having taken an early lead through Song’s close-range finish, the Sailors were then stung by a shock Tigers equaliser with Aidil volleying home after a trademark set-piece routine. Nonetheless, Kim Do-hoon’s men retook the lead before the break as Quak hooked in from unmissable range. The privatised side then sealed the deal late on, with multi-million dollar signing Lopes producing a wonderful diving header off Faris Ramli’s inch-perfect cross before Quak netted his second – cueing raucous celebrations as they lifted the SPL trophy in front of a boisterous home crowd.
- The Sailors won their first-ever title since their 2020 inception and became the first local side to win the league since Warriors FC did in 2014.
- Sailors’ Hassan Sunny is the only member from Warriors’ 2014 league-winning squad to be involved in this year’s triumph.
- The Sailors ended the season with a club-record 18-match unbeaten record and are the only team to have scored in every game in 2021 – they have in fact netted in their last 33 SPL matches since March 2020.
- Quak ended a second straight season as the top-scoring local with 13 goals – one more than Geylang’s Amy Recha.
- Quak netted his fourth brace of the season – the joint-most with Hougang’s Tomoyuki Doi and Tampines’ Boris Kopitović.
- Aidil netted his first-ever SPL goal.
- Balestier is the only team amongst the eight SPL sides not to win an away game (in 11 attempts) for the whole 2021 season.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK) (C), Aqhari Abdullah (Jorge Fellipe 86’), Tajeli Salamat, Hariss Harun (Adam Swandi 22’), Nur Adam Abdullah, Shahdan Sulaiman, Saifullah Akbar, Gabriel Quak, Faris Ramli, Haiqal Pashia (Diego Lopes 57’), Song Uiyoung.
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Hafiz Nor, Naqiuddin Eunos, Amiruldin Asraf.
Balestier: Zacharial Leong (GK), Fadli Kamis (C), Ensar Brunčević, Amer Hakeem, Ahmad Syahir, Aidil Johari (Hariysh Krishnakumar 84’), Gareth Low, Hazzuwan Halim, Shuhei Hoshino, Puvan Raj (Aiman Zavyan 46’, Iqbal Hussain 79’), Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Oliver Sim (GK), Joshua De Souza, Aqil Yazid, Keshav Kumar.
Red Card: Adam Swandi (Sailors) 86’
Jaguars produce incredible comeback
Tanjong Pagar 4-4 Albirex | Jurong East | 10 October
Anaqi Ismit 12’, 73’, Fathullah Rahmat 63’, Reo Nishiguchi 86’ | Kiyoshiro Tsuboi 20’, pen. 22’, 43’. 45’+2
Trailing early through an opportunistic 40-yard strike by Anaqi, Albirex then turned on the style with Tsuboi scoring four in 27 minutes. After bundling home a set-piece to level the score, the Tokushima Vortis loanee then netted from the spot before producing a clinical finish off Ong Yu En’s through ball to complete his hat-trick. He then finished off Fiki Junaidi’s teasing cross to put Albirex 4-1 up at the break. However, the Jaguars were a different animal in the second half, with Fathullah coming up with an absolute rocket from all of 35 yards out before Anaqi further reduced arrears from close range. The comeback was complete four minutes from time, with Nishiguchi producing an outrageous solo goal to deny his former side the victory.
- Albirex drew their final three games of the 2021 season – the last time they went on such a win-less streak was in 2019 when they went on a seven-match win-less streak.
- Albirex conceded four for the first time since a 4-1 defeat to Tampines in November 2020.
- Tsuboi is the first player to score at least four times in a SPL match since Andrei Varankou hit five in Brunei DPMM’s 7-1 win over Balestier in April 2019.
- Fathullah scored his first-ever SPL goal, while Anaqi scored his first-ever brace.
- Both of Fikri’s assists this season have been for Tsuboi.
- Tanjong Pagar finished in fifth spot – their highest finish in the league since 2001 when they were placed fourth out of 12 teams.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Faritz Hameed, Shahrin Saberin, Shakir Hamzah, Shodai Nishikawa, Ridhuan Muhammad (C) (Julian Tan 88’), Fathullah Rahmat (Raihan Rahman 90’+4), Blake Ricciuto, Naufal Ilham (Khairul Amri 56’), Reo Nishiguchi, Anaqi Ismit.
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Emmeric Ong, Ammirul Emmran, Suhairi Sabri.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Shuya Yamashita, Takahiro Tezuka, Reo Kunimoto, Kazuki Hashioka (C), Ryosuke Nagasawa, Kosuke Chiku, Ong Yu En (Yu Tokiwa 46’), Ryoya Taniguchi (Yasuhiro Hanada 74’), Fikri Junaidi (Kuraba Kondo 46’), Kiyoshiro Tsuboi.
Unused subs: Sunny Tia (GK), Mahiro Takahashi, Makoto Ito, Nicky Melvin Singh.
Tampines denied by last-gasp equaliser
Tampines 1-1 Geylang | Our Tampines Hub | 10 October
Taufik Suparno 73’ | Amy Recha pen. 90’+1
In a tightly-contested Eastern Derby, Taufik thought he had scored the winner for Tampines after rising high to convert Amirul Hakim’s left-wing cross late into the second half. However, Geylang had other ideas as they rescued a point in injury time, with Amy converting from the spot after Christopher van Huizen’s cross was adjudged to have been handled in the area.
- Tampines finished fourth with 27 points from 21 matches – their worst tally since 2001 when they collected the same amount of points in a 22-game season to finish seventh out of 12 teams.
- Geylang finished sixth with 20 points from 21 games – their worst tally since 2018 when they collected the same amount of points in a 24-game season to finish eighth out of nine teams.
- Amy’s goal was the first time Tampines conceded in second-half stoppage time all season.
- Geylang’s Abdil Qaiyyim received the first red card of his 13-year long SPL career.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Andrew Aw (Ryaan Sanizal 81’), Daniel Bennett, Baihakki Khaizan, Amirul Haikal, Kyoga Nakamura, Iman Hakim, Taufik Suparno, Yasir Hanapi (C) (Amir Mirza 77’), Irwan Shah (Marc Ryan Tan 79’), Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Ethan Pinto, Adam Reefdy.
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Ilhan Noor, Abdil Qaiyyim, Yuki Ichikawa (C), Iqram Rifqi, Firdaus Kasman (Fareez Farhan 46’), Azri Suhaili (Danny Kim 46’), Barry Maguire, Asshukrie Wahid (Christopher van Huizen 46’), Matheus Moresche, Amy Recha.
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Darren Teh, Umar Akhbar, Faizal Roslan.
Red Card: Abdil Qaiyyim (Geylang) 90’+2
Young Lions finish off on a high
Hougang 1-3 Young Lions | Hougang | 10 October
Fabian Kwok 74’ | Harhys Stewart 16’, Shah Shahiran 23’, Zamani Zamri 55’
The Young Lions geared up for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Qualifiers in the best possible way with a convincing win over Hougang. Harhys first drilled home from the edge of the box, before Shah slammed one into the top corner after some uncertain Hougang defending off a right-wing cross. Zamani then nodded past Izwan Mahbud after a superbly-worked set-piece to make it three, before Kwok headed in a consolation for the home side.
- Hougang ended the season with a three-match win-less streak – their worst run of form since losing three straight games in November 2020.
- The Young Lions defeated Hougang for the first time in six encounters.
- The Young Lions are the only team not to keep a clean sheet this season – they have in fact conceded in their last 36 SPL matches since September 2019.
- Shah scored his first goal since March 2020 when he netted in Tampines’ 4-0 win over Sailors.
- Zamani scored his first goal since December 2020 when he netted in Young Lions’ 2-1 defeat to Geylang.
- Young Lions’ Jordan Emaviwe made his first SPL start since November 2020 when he started in Balestier’s 2-2 draw against Tanjong Pagar.
- Hougang’s Hairil Sufi made his SPL debut.
- Hougang’s Tomoyuki Doi ended the season as the top scorer despite scoring in just one out of his last seven outings.
Hougang: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Anders Aplin, Maksat Dzhakybaliev, Lionel Tan, Farhan Zulkifli, Fabian Kwok (C) (Shahfiq Ghani 81’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Kishson Philip (Shahril Ishak 46’), Hairil Sufi (Shawal Anuar 46’), Tomoyuki Doi, Gilberto Fortunato.
Unused Subs: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Afiq Noor, Hafiz Sujad, Khairul Nizam.
Young Lions: Ridhwan Fikri (GK) (Dylan Pereira 90’+1), Ryhan Stewart, Jordan Emaviwe, Jacob Mahler (C), Jordan Emaviwe, Danish Irfan, Harhys Stewart, Shah Shahiran, Zamani Zamri, Joel Chew (Rezza Rezky 85’), Khairin Nadim, Glenn Kweh (Arshad Shamim 69’).
Unused subs: Nazhiim Harman, Abdul Rasaq Akeem, Danish Qayyum, Raoul Suhaimi.