News Singapore Premier League • April 20, 2021
2021 Singapore Premier League Round 7: Roundup
Zehrudin Mehmedović celebrates after scoring for Tampines Rovers against Geylang International, 16 April 2021
SINGAPORE, 12 APRIL 2021 – It was yet another goal-laden round in the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL), with the big boys of Albirex Niigata (S) and Lion City Sailors chalking up convincing wins while Tampines Rovers emerged victorious in an entertaining Eastern Derby. Elsewhere, title aspirants Hougang United dropped valuable points as we recap all the action below…
Stags edge derby thriller
Tampines 3-2 Geylang | Our Tampines Hub | 16 April
Zehrudin Mehmedović pen. 33’, Boris Kopitović 51’, Taufik Suparno 80’ | Matheus Moresche 50’, 63’
In an Eastern Derby that lived up to its billing, Tampines took the lead through Mehmedović’s successful penalty conversion, before Geylang equalised through Moresche who played an intelligent one-two with Barry Maguire before calmly slotting home from close range. The Stags went ahead again just a minute later with Kopitović clinically burying Mehmedović’s ball over the top, but the Eagles restored parity for a second time when Moresche smashed in Izzdin Shafiq’s chipped pass. But Gavin Lee’s men took the three points late on through substitute Taufik, who met Armin Bošnjak’s cross with a stunning half-volley.
Club news: Geylang – Much-improved Eagles edged 3-2 by Stags in Eastern Derby
- Tampines beat Geylang for the first time in five league encounters.
- Tampines have now scored in 41 straight SPL matches.
- Geylang have now gone six matches without a win for the first time since September 2018.
- Tampines have conceded 14 goals in seven matches so far – last season they conceded just 11 in 14 outings.
- Kopitović scored in four straight SPL games for the first time.
- Moresche is the first Geylang player to score twice in an Eastern Derby since Ifwat Ismail netted a hat-trick in a 4-1 win in the 2017 League Cup.
- Four of Taufik’s last five goals have come as a substitute – that is his third goal as a substitute this season, with no one having more.
- Mehmedović and Bošnjak assisted Kopitović and Taufik respectively for the second time this season.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Irfan Najeeb, Madhu Mohana, Daniel Bennett, Amirul Haikal (Irwan Shah 60’), Kyoga Nakamura, Zehrudin Mehmedović, Iman Hakim (Taufik Suparno 66’), Yasir Hanapi (C) (Baihakki Khaizan 84’), Armin Bošnjak, Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Ryaan Sanizal, Marc Ryan Tan, Fazrul Nawaz.
Geylang: Zainol Gulam (GK), Darren Teh, Faizal Roslan, Yuki Ichikawa (C), Harith Kanadi, Elijah Lim (Izzdin Shafiq 46’), Firdaus Kasman, Barry Maguire, Nur Luqman Rahman (Christopher Van Huizen 46’), Matheus Moresche, Amy Recha (Iqram Rifqi 80’).
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Ilhan Noor, Azri Suhaili, Fareez Farhan.
Cheetahs escape with lucky point
Hougang 1-1 Young Lions | Hougang | 17 April
Tomoyuki Doi 90’ | Glenn Kweh 74’
Hougang continued their Jekyll-and-Hyde ways as they were held by bottom side Young Lions. Philippe Aw’s boys defended stoutly throughout and could have won the game after debutant Kweh produced an unerring finish off Joel Chew’s excellent through pass. However, the Cheetahs managed to steal a point late on with Doi sweeping home from close range after a goalkeeping error.
- Young Lions ended a run of three straight defeats in this fixture.
- Hougang have now conceded at least one goal against Young Lions in the last nine encounters.
- Young Lions have not kept a clean sheet in their last 22 outings.
- Kweh scored two minutes and 27 seconds into his professional debut.
- Doi has scored three goals on 90 minutes or later – no player has more.
- Doi, along with Sailors’ Stipe Plazibat, has now have scored in six straight matches.
- Doi has already matched last season’s goal tally of 11.
- Young Lions’ Kweh and Dylan Pereira Singh made their first professional appearances.
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Faiz Salleh, Lionel Tan, Anders Aplin, Farhan Zulkifli, Fabian Kwok (C) (Shahril Ishak 89’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Idraki Adnan (Afiq Noor 76’), Tomoyuki Doi, Kishson Philip (Muhaimin Suhaimi 46’), Khairul Nizam.
Unused subs: Mukundan Maran (GK), Hafiz Sujad, Maksat Dzhakybaliev, Naufal Azman.
Young Lions: Dylan Pereira (GK), Ryhan Stewart, Syed Akmal, Syahrul Sazali (C), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Harhys Stewart, Amir Syafiz, Zamani Zamri (Danish Qayyum 65’), Joel Chew (Alif Iskandar 89’), Khairin Nadim (Glenn Kweh 71’), Ilhan Fandi.
Unused subs: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Daniel Goh, Nor Hakim, Raoul Suhaimi.
White Swans mean business
Tanjong Pagar 0-6 Albirex | Jurong East | 17 April
Kiyoshiro Tsuboi 32’, 37’, 41’, Kuraba Kondo 62’, 87’, Ryoya Taniguchi 68’
Albirex finished the first round of fixtures undefeated, aided by a perfect hat-trick from hotshot Tsuboi. Waltzing through the entire Tanjong Pagar backline to net with his left foot for the opening goal, the 21-year-old repeated the trick en route to scoring with his right before completing the feat with a superb header off Kazuki Hashioka’s cross. The relentless White Swans added three goals after the break as super-sub Kondo netted a clinical brace that sandwiched Taniguchi’s neat strike to make it a night to forget for the Jaguars.
Club news: Albirex – Tsuboi’s perfect hat-trick sets up White Swans blitz
- Albirex is the only undefeated team after the first round of fixtures.
- Tanjong Pagar have never won against Albirex in 17 league meetings to date.
- Albirex have conceded just four in seven matches – last season they conceded eight in their first seven matches.
- Tsuboi scored the first perfect hat-trick since Adi Said did in Brunei DPMM’s 7-1 win over Young Lions in October 2017.
- Tsuboi scored a nine-minute hat-trick – the fastest since Diego Gama struck thrice in four minutes to inspire Hougang United to a 3-1 comeback victory against Tanjong Pagar back in November 2011.
- Tsuboi is the first player to score a first half hat-trick since Stipe Plazibat did in Sailors’ 7-1 win over Balestier in November 2020 – he is also the first Albirex player to score a hat-trick since Tsubasa Sano did in a 7-2 thrashing of Geylang in November 2017.
- Kondo’s three goals this season have all come as a substitute – the most in the league.
- Kondo’s second goal was Albirex’s first from outside the box this season – they were the only team not to have scored from outside the area prior to this game.
- Kondo is the 13th player to score a brace this season – it was the 20th brace of the season.
- Ong Yu En is the first Singaporean to complete 90 minutes for Albirex since Zamani Zamri did in July 2019.
- Albirex’s Takahiro Koga has four clean sheets – a league best.
Tanjong Pagar: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Emmeric Ong (Delwinder Singh 67’), Shahrin Saberin, Faritz Hameed (C), Rusyaidi Salime (Raihan Rahman 89’), Blake Ricciuto, Ammirul Emmran, Shodai Nishikawa, Naufal Ilham (Suhairi Sabri 59’), Reo Nishiguchi, Anaqi Ismit.
Unused subs: Hariz Farid (GK), Luiz Junior, Hadiputradila Saswadimata, Elfy Danish.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Kazuki Hashioka (C), Shuya Yamashita, Reo Kunimoto, Yu Tokiwa (Yasuhiro Hanada 74’), Takahiro Tezuka, Kosuke Chiku, Ryoya Taniguchi, Ong Yu En, Kiyoshiro Tsuboi (Kohga Tsuruhara 90’), Nicky Melvin Singh (Kuraba Kondo 46’).
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Mahiro Takahashi, Fumiya Suzuki, Fairoz Hasan.
Free-scoring Sailors getting into the groove
Sailors 4-1 Balestier | Jalan Besar | 18 April
Gabriel Quak 6’, Shahdan Sulaiman 18’, Stipe Plazibat 47’, Saifullah Akbar 51’ | Kristijan Krajček 26’
Reigning Player of the Year Quak set them on the way to an emphatic result with a sumptuous volley off Naqiuddin Eunos’s cross, before Shahdan curled home a peach of a free-kick from 25 yards. Balestier did pull one back through Krajček’s opportunistic lob from the edge of the area, but Aurelio Vidmar’s men grabbed another two goals to complete the rout. Quak unselfishly squared for Plazibat to finish off a counter-attack, before Saifullah cut in and fired a crisp shot beyond Zaiful Nizam as the Sailors leapfrogged Hougang to go second.
Club news: Sailors – Young Sailors Aniq and Glenn impress in Balestier victory
- Sailors have now scored a total of 16 goals against Balestier in the last three encounters.
- Sailors have now scored in 19 straight SPL matches.
- This was the first time Balestier trailed at half-time this season – Albirex is the only team yet to be in a losing position at the break in 2021.
- Quak scored his seventh goal of the season – he is two goals away from matching his career-best of nine in 2019.
- Shahdan scored his first free-kick for Sailors – it was also his first free-kick goal since August 2019 when he netted in Tampines’ 2-0 win over Albirex.
- Eight of Shahdan’s last nine SPL goals have come from outside the box – six direct free-kicks and two from range.
- Krajček has now scored four goals this season – one away from matching his career-best of five in 2019.
- Plazibat, along with Hougang’s Doi, has now scored in six games in a row – he is also now the league’s top assist-maker with five.
- Plazibat scored and assisted in the same game for a third time – the most of any player.
- Saifullah scored for a third straight outing against Balestier – he has already matched last season’s tally of two and is one away from matching his career-best of three in 2019 with Young Lions.
- Sailors’ Glenn Ong and Aniq Raushan made their professional debuts.
Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK, C), Aidil Johari (Gautam Selvamany 75’), Fadli Kamis, Aqil Yazid, Ensar Brunčević, Ahmad Syahir, Aarish Kumar (Faizal Raffi 69’), Gareth Low, Kristijan Krajček, Šime Žužul, Shuhei Hoshino (Hazzuwan Halim 46’).
Unused subs: Martyn Mun (GK), Hariysh Krishnakumar, Aiman Zavyan, Joshua De Souza.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK, C), Aniq Raushan (Aqhari Abdullah 77’), Amirul Adli, Jorge Fellipe, Naqiuddin Eunos, Glenn Ong (Song Uiyoung 69’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Gabriel Quak (Faris Ramli 73’), Diego Lopes, Saifullah Akbar, Stipe Plazibat.
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Tajeli Salamat, Hafiz Nor, Adam Swandi.