News Singapore Premier League • March 22, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 3: Roundup
Taufik Suparno (C) celebrates his goal for Tampines Rovers, 21 March 2021
SINGAPORE, 22 MARCH 2021 – It was a weekend of shock results as Hougang United claimed the scalp of title favourite Lion City Sailors while Young Lions and Balestier Khalsa held Geylang International and Albirex Niigata (S) respectively. Meanwhile, Tampines Rovers continued their unbeaten start to the campaign as we recap all the action below…
Sailors stunned by courageous Cheetahs
Sailors 1-3 Hougang | Jalan Besar | 21 March
Stipe Plazibat 84’ | Lionel Tan 19’, Tomoyuki Doi 20’, 59’
Two quick first-half goals set the tone for a statement victory, with Sailors goalkeeper Hassan Sunny culpable for both. The 36-year-old first flapped at a corner to allow Tan to sweep home, before scuffing an attempted clearance that led to Doi slotting into an empty net. The Cheetahs sealed the three points after the break, with Doi’s shot from a tight angle somehow creeping in at the near post – rendering a late Plazibat tap-in immaterial.
- The Sailors have the same number of points – four – as in 2020 after the first three matches.
- The Sailors have conceded three goals in two of their three matches this term – they conceded three or more on only three occasions in 2020.
- The Sailors had more shot attempts (17-10), but fewer on target than Hougang (5-6).
- Lionel scored his first ever professional goal.
- This is the first time Doi has scored successive braces in the SPL.
- Doi now has four goals after his first three matches for Hougang.
- Plazibat scored against Hougang for the first time in three outings after leaving the Cheetahs in 2020.
- This is the first time Plazibat scored in a league defeat since Hougang’s 2-4 loss to Tampines in July 2019.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK)(C), Aqhari Abdullah, Tajeli Salamat, Amirul Adli, Nur Adam Abdullah, Shahdan Sulaiman, Song Uiyoung, Saifullah Akbar (Gabriel Quak 46’), Justin Hui (Diego Lopes 46’), Stipe Plazibat, Faris Ramli (Adam Swandi 72’).
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Abdil Qaiyyim, Hafiz Nor, Naqiuddin Eunos.
Hougang: Mukundan Maran (GK), Faiz Salleh, Maksat Dzhakybaliev, Lionel Tan, Farhan Zulkifli, Fabian Kwok (C) (Anders Aplin 79’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Idraki Adnan (Hafiz Sujad 59’), Shawal Anuar (Shahfiq Ghani 90’+1), Tomoyuki Doi, Gilberto Fortunato.
Unused subs: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Aqil Yazid (GK), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Kishson Phillip.
Khairin Nadim makes history
Geylang 1-1 Young Lions | Our Tampines Hub| 21 March
Sylvano Comvalius 34’ | Khairin Nadim 61’
This was a clash that was lit up by two stunning goals. Dutch forward Comvalius produced a bullet of a strike from the edge of the area after holding off his marker to put the Eagles ahead. An equally impressive strike rescued a point for the Young Lions, as teenage forward Khairin curled in a peach of a shot from a similar distance in the second half.
- This is the first time Young Lions did not lose after conceding first since September 2019 when they drew 1-1 with Tampines – ending a 11-game streak in the process.
- Young Lions scored their first goal from outside the area since September 2019 when Zulqarnaen Suzliman did so in a 3-0 victory over Home United.
- Khairin is the youngest player to hit the five-goal mark in SPL history at 16 years and 316 days.
- Geylang’s Iqram Rifqi made his first appearance since March 2020 when he came on a second-half substitute in Sailors 1-1 draw with Tanjong Pagar.
Geylang: Zainol Gulam (GK), Darren Teh, Faizal Roslan, Yuki Ichikawa (C), Harith Kanadi (Iqram Rifqi 79’) Elijah Lim (Amy Recha 82’), Firdaus Kasman, Azri Suhaili (Izzdin Shafiq 53’), Matheus Moresche, Sylvano Comvalius, Christopher Van Huizen.
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Adam Hakeem, Ilhan Noor, Fareez Farhan.
Young Lions: Nurshafiq Zaini (GK), Ryhan Stewart, Syed Akmal, Danish Irfan (C), Syahrul Sazali, Harhys Stewart, Hami Syahin, Daniel Goh (Zamani Zamri 62’), Joel Chew (Sahffee Jubpre 85’), Khairin Nadim (Danish Qayyum 76’), Ilhan Fandi.
Unused subs: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Nazhiim Harman, Syabil Hisham, Raoul Suhaimi.
Tigers frustrate the champions
Albirex 0-0 Balestier | Jurong East| 22 March
Albirex struck six goals in their opening two matches, but hit a wall against a gritty Balestier side. Largely on top in the first half, the Tigers were unlucky not to take the lead with Fadli Kamis’ teasing right-wing cross tipped onto the post by Albirex custodian Takahiro Koga. Marko Kraljevic’s side had to field rookie goalkeeper Martyn Mun for the final half-hour due to Zaiful Nizam’s injury, but managed to hold on for a valuable point.
- This is the first 0-0 draw in the SPL since Tanjong Pagar and Hougang played out a stalemate in November 2020.
- The draw meant no teams have an 100 percent record after the three opening rounds this season.
- Balestier ended a streak of nine straight losses at Jurong East in all competitions.
- Balestier are yet to defeat Albirex in the last 18 encounters in all competitions.
- Balestier went the first three games of the season without a win since 2017.
- Zaiful was substituted off for the first time since August 2016 – that was also against Albirex in a 1-0 loss at Jalan Besar.
- Mun made his professional debut – he had been named on the bench just once before this game.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Kazuki Hashioka (C), Shuya Yamashita, Reo Kunimoto, Yu Tokiwa, Takahiro Tezuka, Kosuke Chiku, Ryoya Taniguchi, Nicky Melvin Singh (Yasuhiro Hanada 46’), Kiyoshiro Tsuboi, Fairoz Hasan (Mahiro Takahashi 46’).
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Tsubasa Kawanishi, Ong Yu En, Kohga Tsuruhara, Kuraba Kondo.
Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK, C) (Martyn Mun 59’), Fadli Kamis, Amer Hakeem, Ensar Brunčević, Ahmad Syahir, Aarish Kumar, Faizal Raffi (Šime Žužul 76’), Hazzuwan Halim, Kristijan Krajček, Puvan Raj (Gareth Low 55’), Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Hariysh Krishnakumar, Gautam Selvamany, Joshua De Souza, Aqil Yazid.
Stags continue good start to season
Tampines 3-1 Tanjong Pagar | Our Tampines Hub | 22 March
Madhu Mohana 6’, Yasir Hanapi 61’, Taufik Suparno 87’ | Luiz Junior pen. 81’
It had looked like a tricky test on paper, but Tampines never looked like dropping points after stand-in captain Madhu capitalised on some poor Tanjong Pagar defending to open the scoring from six yards. Half-time substitute Yasir then curled a brilliant shot beyond Fashah Iskandar to double the Stags’ advantage, before the visitors pulled one back through Luiz’s penalty. Super-sub Taufik put the result beyond doubt 46 seconds after coming on as he volleyed home Armin Bošnjak’s inch-perfect cross.
- Tampines have now scored in 37 straight SPL games.
- Tampines are unbeaten in their last 13 matches since a 2-1 defeat to Hougang in October 2020 –the longest since a 16-match unbeaten run from October 2010 to May 2011.
- Tanjong Pagar are still waiting for their first win since October 2014.
- Madhu’s last three goals were all scored on his left foot – he has already doubled his 2020 goal tally.
- Yasir now has three goals in three matches this term after none in 2020 – one short of his joint-highest tally of four – in 2019 with Tampines, 2013 and 2009 with Geylang.
- Taufik scored two in as many matches – he is now just one short of his joint-best tally of three in the past two campaigns.
- Tampines’ Syazwan Buhari is still waiting for first clean sheet in 2021 – he did not concede a single goal in all three opening matches last season.
- Tanjong Pagar’s Anaqi Ismit made his first professional start after a solitary substitute appearance in 2019 with Home United.
- Tanjong Pagar’s Nishiguchi is still waiting for his first Jaguars goal after three outings – he had scored a goal in each of Albirex’s first three opening games in 2020.
- Amri played against Tampines for the first time since captaining Young Lions in a 3-1 defeat to the Stags back in October 2016.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Irfan Najeeb (Daniel Bennett 73’), Madhu Mohana (C), Baihakki Khaizan, Irwan Shah, Kyoga Nakamura, Shah Shahiran, Zehrudin Mehmedović (Taufik Suparno 86’), Marc Ryan Tan (Yasir Hanapi 46’), Boris Kopitovic, Armin Bošnjak.
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Ryaan Sanizal, Amirul Haikal, Fazrul Nawaz.
Tanjong Pagar: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Faritz Hameed (C), Shahrin Saberin, Delwinder Singh, Naufal Ilham (Emmeric Ong 46’), Rusyaidi Salime (Ammirul Emmran 67’), Blake Ricciuto, Shodai Nishikawa, Luiz Junior, Reo Nishiguchi, Anaqi Ismit (Khairul Amri 58’).
Unused subs: Joey Sim (GK), Raihan Rahman, Suhairi Sabri, Hadiputradila Saswadimata.