News Singapore Premier League • April 13, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 6: Roundup
Reo Nishiguchi fires Tanjong Pagar United into the lead, 10 April 2021
SINGAPORE, 12 APRIL 2021 – It was yet another exciting round in the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) as champions Albirex Niigata (S) edged fellow title challengers Tampines Rovers to stay top while Hougang United continued their fine form to follow closely behind. Elsewhere, Tanjong Pagar United and Lion City Sailors won by big margins – with the former picking up their first win of the season – as we recap all the action below…
Cheetahs keep up pressure
Balestier 0-1 Hougang | Toa Payoh | 10 April
Tomoyuki Doi 63’
Hougang came through a tricky test against Balestier, who made life difficult despite having to play the majority of the game with 10 men after Serbian centre-back Ensar Brunčević was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident. The breakthrough came in the second half through the in-form Doi, who benefitted from a superb flick-on by substitute Khairul Nizam to thrash high past Zaiful Nizam from a tight angle – earning his side a fourth win in their last five matches.
- Hougang’s current tally of 13 points from the opening six matches is their best-ever since their inception in 2011 – beating their previous record of 12 in 2019.
- Hougang are unbeaten in five league matches for the first time since September 2019 when they went six unbeaten.
- Hougang ended a run of 14 straight SPL matches without a clean sheet.
- Doi has scored in five straight games and is the first player to reach 10 goals this season – one short of his 2020 tally.
- Balestier’s Aqil Yazid made his first professional start, while Hougang’s Kishson Philip made his first professional appearance. Kishson is the 13th Singaporean debutant this season.
Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK)(C), Fadli Kamis, Aqil Yazid (Faizal Raffi 70’), Ensar Brunčević, Ahmad Syahir, Aarish Kumar, Gareth Low, Hazzuwan Halim (Šime Žužul 54’), Kristijan Krajček, Hariysh Krishnakumar (Aidil Johari 25’), Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Martyn Mun (GK), Gautam Selvamany, Joshua De Souza, Keshav Kumar.
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Maksat Dzhakybaliev, Lionel Tan, Anders Aplin, Idraki Adnan (Hafiz Sujad 65’), Fabian Kwok (C) (Afiq Noor 85’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Farhan Zulkifli, Shawal Anuar, Tomoyuki Doi, Kishson Philip (Khairul Nizam 46’).
Unused subs: Mukundan Maran (GK), Aizil Yazid (GK), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Naufal Azman.
Red Card: Ensar Brunčević 21’
Jaguars finally break duck
Young Lions 0-4 Tanjong Pagar | Jalan Besar | 10 April
Reo Nishiguchi 5’, Luiz Junior 61’, 62’, Blake Ricciuto 66’
At long last, Tanjong Pagar attained their first win since returning to the SPL in 2020, courtesy of goals from their imports. Japanese forward Nishiguchi set the Jaguars on the way with an early thunderbolt from distance, before teeing up Brazilian strike partner Luiz for a deflected finish after the break. The latter then nodded in off Naufal Ilham’s cross for a quick-fire brace, before Australian midfielder Ricciuto stabbed home from close range shortly later to complete the rout.
- Tanjong Pagar won their first SPL match since October 2014 when they defeated Harimau Muda 5-0 – 2,361 days ago.
- This was Tanjong Pagar’s first victory in 21 matches.
- Young Lions lost by four goals or more for two straight matches for the first time since March 2017 when they went down 6-1 to Home United and 5-0 to Albirex respectively.
- Young Lions have conceded the most goals from outside the area – five.
- Nishiguchi scored in two straight games for the first time since March 2020 when he did for Albirex.
- Luiz scored for a third straight outing against Young Lions – making it five goals against them since his arrival in the SPL in 2020.
- Tanjong Pagar’s Fashah Iskandar kept his first clean sheet in 13 matches – his previous shutout was back in August 2019 in Warriors’ 2-0 win over Young Lions.
Young Lions: Nurshafiq Zaini (GK), Sahffee Jubpre (Amir Syafiz 66’), Syed Akmal, Danish Irfan (C), Syahrul Sazali, Ryhan Stewart, Hami Syahin, Zamani Zamri (Danish Qayyum 82’), Nor Hakim (Joel Chew 46’), Khairin Nadim, Ilhan Fandi.
Unused subs: Dylan Pereira (GK), Nazhiim Harman, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Alif Iskandar.
Tanjong Pagar: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Emmeric Ong, Shahrin Saberin, Faritz Hameed (C), Rusyaidi Salime, Blake Ricciuto, Shodai Nishikawa, Naufal Ilham (Elfy Danish 75’), Daniel Martens (Suhairi Sabri 46’), Luiz Junior (Hadiputradila Saswadimata 87’), Reo Nishiguchi.
Unused subs: Hariz Farid (GK), Anaqi Ismit, Raihan Rahman, Ammirul Emmran.
Champions show the way
Albirex 2-1 Tampines | Jurong East | 11 April
Ryoya Taniguchi 21’, Kuraba Kondo 63’ | Boris Kopitović 9’
Tampines took the early initiative in this battle between two title contenders through Montenegrin striker Kopitovic, who produced a superb instinctive finish to meet compatriot Armin Bošnjak’s inswinging cross. However, Albirex rallied and equalised through Taniguchi after he was left unmarked in the area to tap home Yu Tokiwa’s cross. The scorer then played a key role in the winner as he jinked his way into the box and saw his cut-back deflected into the path of substitute Kondo, whose grounder took a slight deflection to nestle into the corner.
Club news: Albirex – Albirex Came from Behind to Regain Top Spot
- Albirex won for the first time in four encounters against the Stags.
- Tampines are six points worse off at this stage of the season as compared to 2020.
- Tampines have now scored in 40 straight SPL matches.
- Kopitovic has scored in his last three outings.
- Kondo scored his first SPL goal – he is also the second Albirex player to score a match-winning goal, with no other team having more.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Kazuki Hashioka (C), Shuya Yamashita, Reo Kunimoto, Yu Tokiwa, Takahiro Tezuka, Kosuke Chiku, Ryoya Taniguchi, Fairoz Hasan (Kuraba Kondo 46’), Kiyoshiro Tsuboi (Fumiya Suzuki 90’+2), Ong Yu En (Yasuhiro Hanada 70’).
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Mahiro Takahashi, Nicky Melvin Singh, Kohga Tsuruhara.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Irfan Najeeb (Fazrul Nawaz 86’), Madhu Mohana, Daniel Bennett, Irwan Shah, Kyoga Nakamura, Shah Shahiran, Yasir Hanapi (C), Marc Ryan Tan (Zehrudin Mehmedović 54’), Armin Bošnjak, Boris Kopitovic (Taufik Suparno 66’).
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Ryaan Sanizal, Baihakki Khaizan, Iman Hakim.
Lopes leads Sailors rout
Geylang 0-8 Sailors | Our Tampines Hub | 11 April
Gabriel Quak 7’, 60’, Diego Lopes 18’, 37’, 90’+1, Saifullah Akbar 23’, Stipe Plazibat 67’, 77’
A depleted Geylang side were put to the sword and the floodgates opened early, as Quak tapped in Justin Hui’s pass before Lopes cut inside his man to lash in his maiden Sailors goal. The Brazilian star then teed up Saifullah for a thumping finish before rifling home his second after some messy defending from the Eagles. Aurelio Vidmar’s charges continued their relentless ways after the break with Quak finishing off Shahdan Sulaiman’s ball over the top before Croatian hot-shot Plazibat joined in the act with a clinical brace. Lopes rounded off the resounding victory late on from close range to complete a memorable hat-trick.
- Sailors have scored 15 goals in three encounters against the Eagles since 2020.
- Sailors have now scored in 18 straight SPL games.
- Sailors have scored most goals in the first 10 minutes – three – and most in the final 10 minutes – four.
- Sailors now have 12 different players with assists – the most of any team.
- This is Geylang’s heaviest-ever league defeat – their previous record loss was a 7-0 reverse to Tampines Rovers in May 2005.
- This is the biggest winning margin in the SPL since Albirex’s 8-0 defeat of Young Lions in May 2017.
- Geylang have conceded 17 goals in six matches – last season they conceded just 22 in 14.
- Geylang have gone five games without a win for the first time since May 2019.
- Quak scored his third brace of the season – joint-most with Hougang’s Doi.
- With six goals for the season, Quak has already exceeded his 2020 tally of five.
- Lopes scored the third hat-trick of the season – he is the first Brazilian to net a hat-trick since October 2017 when Rafael Ramazotti did in Brunei DPMM’s 7-1 win over Young Lions.
- Lopes and Quak are the third and fourth players to score and assist in the same game for Sailors – no other team has more.
- Plazibat has scored in five straight games and is now on 70 SPL goals – he also leads the assists charts with four alongside Hougang’s Kaishu Yamazaki.
Geylang: Zainol Gulam (GK), Darren Teh, Izzdin Shafiq, Yuki Ichikawa (C), Harith Kanadi (Matheus Moresche 46’), Elijah Lim, Firdaus Kasman, Fareez Farhan (Sylvano Comvalius 59’), Nur Luqman Rahman (Azri Suhaili 79’), Amy Recha, Christopher Van Huizen.
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Ilhan Noor, Furqan Raoff, Kieran Teo.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK, C), Naqiuddin Eunos, Amirul Adli, Jorge Fellipe, Nur Adam Abdullah, Shahdan Sulaiman, Diego Lopes, Saifullah Akbar (Song Uiyoung 66’), Gabriel Quak, Stipe Plazibat (Hafiz Nor 77’), Justin Hui (Faris Ramli 46’).
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Tajeli Salamat, Aqhari Abdullah, Adam Swandi.