Singapore Premier League • May 30, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 11: Roundup
Albirex Niigata (S) team-mates Kodai Tanaka (L) and Zamani Zamri celebrate, 27 May 2022
SINGAPORE, 30 MAY 2022 – It was an incredible final matchweek of AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) action before the international break, with 20 goals across three matches. The gap between leaders Lion City Sailors and the chasing pack is now down to six points, with Albirex Niigata (S) and Tanjong Pagar United emerging victorious over Geylang International and Tampines Rovers to close in. Meanwhile, Hougang United swept Balestier Khalsa aside to end a three-match win-less streak. We recap all the action below…
White Swans pile on Eagles’ misery
Albirex 8-2 Geylang | Jurong East | 27 May
Kodai Tanaka 11′, 40′, 71′, Zamani Zamri 43′, Masahiro Sugita 64′, Kan Kobayashi 70′, 79′, Ilhan Fandi 85′ | Abdil Qaiyyim 28′, Šime Žužul 49′
Geylang kept things close initially, with Abdil bundling home the equaliser after Albirex had gone ahead through Tanaka’s stooping header. Tanaka then nodded in Masaya Idetsu’s corner before Zamani smashed home from close range to put the White Swans 3-1 up, but Žužul would pull one back for the Eagles at the back post. Kazuaki Yoshinaga’s men would run out convincing winners though, with another five goals in a 21-minute spell. Sugita converted from two yards out, Kobayashi scored a clinical brace, before Ilhan – on his club debut – teed up Tanaka for the hat-trick and went on to net his first goal in White Swans colours to complete the rout.
- Geylang were also the last team to concede eight in a SPL game – in an 8-0 loss to Sailors in April 2021. The last time a team other than the Eagles let in more was Brunei DPMM in a 9-3 loss to Home United in May 2017.
- The is the highest-scoring game since Hougang’s 7-3 win over Tampines in September 2021.
- Geylang have now lost on their last 12 visits to Jurong East to face Albirex in all competitions.
- Albirex are now unbeaten in their last nine games, while Geylang are win-less for the same number.
- This is the first time two Singaporeans have scored in the same game for Albirex.
- Tanaka scored his second hat-trick of the season – the joint-most with Sailors’ Kim Shin-wook.
- Seven of Tanaka’s 11 SPL goals have come from headers; he has scored the most headers in the league.
- Idetsu is the first player to chalk up four assists in a single match since the league’s revamp to the SPL in 2018.
- Abdil scored his first goal since July 2019 in Home’s 1-0 win over Young Lions.
- Geylang’s Joshua Pereira made his first SPL appearance since March 2020 in the Eagles’ 2-1 win over Hougang.
- Ilhan is Albirex’s 10th different scorer this season – joint-most with Hougang.
- Žužul scored his 35th career SPL goal.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Jun Kobayashi (C), Keito Hariya, Daichi Omori, Masaya Idetsu, Kumpei Kakuta, Kan Kobayashi, Zamani Zamri (Ilhan Fandi 56’), Masahiro Sugita (Nicky Melvin Singh 86’), Tadanari Lee (Fairoz Hasan 86’), Kodai Tanaka (Kanato Fukazawa 82’).
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Kai Yamamoto (GK), Tatsuya Sambongi, Mahiro Takahashi, Reo Kunimoto.
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Faizal Roslan, Abdil Qaiyyim, Rio Sakuma, Huzaifah Aziz (Fareez Farhan 67’), Takahiro Tezuka, Joshua Pereira (Umar Akhbar 30’), Hazzuwan Halim, Vincent Bezecourt, Khairul Hairie (Ahmad Syahir 46’), Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Ilhan Noor, Danish Siregar, Badrul Amin, Kieran Teo, Furqan Raoff.
Cheetahs rediscover bite
Hougang 3-1 Balestier | Hougang | 28 May
Kaishu Yamazaki 22’, Hafiz Sujad 60’, Kristijan Krajček 84’ | Shuhei Hoshino 30’
Yamazaki gave Hougang the lead with a crisp daisy-cutter from just outside the area, before Hoshino pulled Balestier level by slamming home Ryoya Taniguchi’s inch-perfect cross. The Cheetahs were dominant in the second half, with Hafiz slotting home the rebound after his initial shot was parried to put them back ahead before Krajček settled the contest with an opportunistic first-time finish against his former club.
- All three of Hougang’s wins in 2022 have come at home and they have lost just once out of their last six as the hosts.
- Balestier have now won just one out of their last 18 away matches since December 2020.
- Yamazaki also scored the opening goal in Hougang’s previous home win (4-3) over Balestier in May 2021; his strike is Hougang’s fifth goal from outside the box in open play this season, the most of any team.
- No team has scored more goals from outside the box in open play than Hougang – 15 – since the start of the 2020 season.
- Taniguchi assisted Hoshino for a fifth time this season – the highest combination of any pair. He has assisted only one other teammate in 2022.
- Krajček is Hougang’s 10th different scorer this season – joint-most with Albirex.
Hougang: Mukundan Maran (GK), Anders Aplin, Nazhiim Harman (Shahfiq Ghani 79’), Lionel Tan (C), Nazrul Nazari, Hafiz Sujad, Kaishu Yamazaki, Amy Recha (Shahril Ishak 63’), Kristijan Krajček, Sahil Suhaimi (Afiq Noor 74’), Pedro Bortoluzo.
Unused subs: Aizil Yazid (GK), Shawal Anuar, Faiz Salleh, Muhaimin Suhaimi, Amir Zailani, Farhan Zulkifli.
Balestier: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Darren Teh, Delwinder Singh, Ensar Brunčević, Ho Wai Loon (C), Akmal Azman (Aidil Johari 78’), Ryoya Taniguchi, Kuraba Kondo, Daniel Goh (Ignatius Ang 68’), Shuhei Hoshino, Asshukrie Wahid (Ammirul Emmran 78’).
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Amer Hakeem, Naufal Azman, Puvan Raj, Gareth Low, Aqil Yazid.
Jaguars continue to impress
Tanjong Pagar 4-2 Tampines | Jurong East | 28 May
Reo Nishiguchi 5’, 32’, Rusyaidi Salime 21’, Shodai Nishikawa 38’ | Firdaus Kasman 22’, Zehrudin Mehmedović 35’
All six goals came in a breathless first half, as Nishiguchi first capitalised on a defensive error to curl home the opener before turning provider to tee up Rusyaidi to put Tanjong Pagar two up. Firdaus took advantage of some hesitant defending to halve the deficit but Tampines continued to flounder in defence, with a mix-up leading to Nishiguchi scoring his second. While the visitors quickly pulled another one back with Mehmedović guiding in Amirul Haikal’s low cross, the points would go to Hasrin Jailani’s side as Nishikawa headed in Blake Ricciuto’s knock-on for an emphatic fourth.
- This is Tanjong Pagar’s first win over Tampines in seven attempts since returning to the SPL in 2020 – also their first home win over the Stags since May 2013.
- Tanjong Pagar won back-to-back games for the first time since August 2021 – this is also the first time they have won two straight home matches since October 2014.
- Tampines, along with the Young Lions, are the remaining two teams yet to keep a clean sheet in 2022.
- Nishiguchi scored his third brace – the most by any player in 2022. He had never scored a brace before this season and is also now on 25 SPL goals.
- Nishiguchi scored for a fourth straight game and has now exceeded his previous career-best tally of nine in 2021, with 11 goals.
- Rusyaidi scored his first goal in 53 matches since netting for Young Lions in a 2-1 defeat to Hougang in September 2017.
- Firdaus’s goal meant he scored more than once in a SPL season for the first time since he made his professional debut in 2009.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Daniel Bennett (Emmeric Ong 73’), Raihan Rahman, Faritz Hameed (C), Akram Azman (Fathullah Rahmat 83’), Rusyaidi Salime, Blake Ricciuto, Aqhari Abdullah (Syukri Bashir 77’), Mirko Šugić, Reo Nishiguchi.
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Khairul Nizam, Naufal Ilham, Khairul Amri, Hadiputradila Saswadimata.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK) (C), Irfan Najeeb, Shuya Yamashita, Ryaan Sanizal, Irwan Shah (Marc Ryan Tan 65’), Kyoga Nakamura, Firdaus Kasman (Ong Yu En 65’), Taufik Suparno (Adam Reefdy 73’), Zehrudin Mehmedović, Amirul Haikal (Christopher van Huizen 46’), Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Iman Hakim, Shameer Aziq, Syed Firdaus Hassan, Andrew Aw.