Singapore Premier League • August 4, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 18: Roundup
Kodai Tanaka celebrates after scoring for Albirex Niigata (S) against Lion City Sailors, 29 July 2022
SINGAPORE, 4 AUGUST 2022 – The AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) title race took another twist as Albirex Niigata (S) overcame Lion City Sailors in a top-of-the-table clash to narrow the gap to two points with a game in hand. Meanwhile, Geylang International thrashed Tanjong Pagar United before seeing their seven-match unbeaten run come to an end against Tampines Rovers, who bounced back from a disappointing loss against Hougang United with an emphatic Eastern Derby victory. Elsewhere, Balestier Khalsa dispatched Young Lions to return to winning ways. We recap all the action below…
White Swans seize title initative
Albirex 4-2 Sailors | Jurong East | 29 July
Kodai Tanaka 23′, 38′, Kan Kobayashi 56′, Tadanari Lee 84′ | Anumanthan Kumar 21′, Kim Shin-wook 75′
Sailors broke the deadlock through M. Anumanthan’s deflected shot, but Albirex roared back with Tanaka first nodding home Masaya Idetsu’s cross before curling home a peach of a shot. He then turned provider to set up Kobayashi for a near-post finish to make it 3-1, before Kim pulled one back for the Sailors with an emphatic volley. However, the night belonged to the White Swans as super-sub Lee benefitted from another excellent Idetsu cross to head in and complete the victory.
- Albirex remain the only team the Sailors have yet to beat in the league since their 2020 inception, with four draws and four losses in eight encounters.
- Albirex have won nine of their last 10 matches.
- Sailors have won just once in their last four outings.
- The Sailors conceded four goals for only the second time in their history – the first came in a 4-0 loss to Tampines in March 2020.
- The Sailors conceded two headed goals, having not let in any headers in 2022 before this game.
- Idetsu’s two assists saw him pull level with Sailors’ Maxime Lestienne on 12 at the top of this season’s chart.
- Anumanthan is the Sailors’ 13th different scorer this season – no club has more.
- Kim is the sixth player to score as a substitute for the Sailors in 2022 – the most of any team.
- Ten of Tanaka’s 19 goals this season have come via headers; he also scored his first goal in open play from outside the area in this game.
- Tanaka scored and made an assist in the same match for a fifth time this season – joint-most with Tampines’ Boris Kopitović and Lestienne.
- Kobayashi assisted Tanaka for the fourth time this season.
- Anumanthan scored his first SPL goal since May 2019 in Hougang’s 1-0 win over Balestier.
- Song assisted Kim for a third time this season.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Jun Kobayashi (C), Reo Kunimoto, Keito Hariya, Daichi Omori, Masaya Idetsu, Kumpei Kakuta, Kan Kobayashi, Masahiro Sugita (Tatsuya Sambongi 89’), Ilhan Fandi (Tadanari Lee 78’), Kodai Tanaka (Mahiro Takahashi 90’+4).
Unused subs: Kai Yamamoto (GK), Tsubasa Kawanishi, Nicky Melvin Singh, Fairoz Hasan, Zamani Zamri, Kanato Fukazawa.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK), Amirul Adli (Kim Shin-wook 63’), Hariss Harun (C), Pedro Henrique, Nur Adam Abdullah, M. Anumanthan (Saifullah Akbar 63’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Hafiz Nor (Iqram Rifqi 85’), Diego Lopes (Gabriel Quak 85’), Faris Ramli (Maxime Lestienne 54’), Song Uiyoung.
Unused subs: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Amiruldin Asraf, Adam Swandi, Bill Mamadou.
Cheetahs dig deep
Tampines 2-4 Hougang | Our Tampines Hub | 30 July
Boris Kopitović 39′, 55′ | Kristijan Krajček 29′, 86′, Kaishu Yamazaki 58′, Shawal Anuar 79′
Krajček fired Hougang ahead from the edge of the box, but Tampines turned things around through Kopitović, who acrobatically hooked home a volley before slotting home from a tight angle to complete a clinical brace. Hougang dug deep though and Yamazaki thumped them level from 25 yards before Shawal turned in Krajček’s inswinging corner to turn the match on its head. Krajček then added a second with a cleanly-struck volley to complete a remarkable Cheetahs win.
- Hougang have now won the last two encounters by 4-2 score-lines.
- Hougang have scored eight goals from outside the box in open play – the most in the league this season.
- Yamazaki has matched his best-ever season goal tally of three (for Albirex in 2019).
- Nakamura assisted Kopitović for a fifth time this season.
- Kopitović scored his 45th SPL goal in his 53rd match.
- Kopitović scored his 20th of the season; he is the first player to hit at least 20 since Andrei Varankou got 21 in 2019 for Brunei DPMM. He is also the first Tampines player since Aleksandar Duric (26 in 2011) to hit at least 20 league goals in one season.
- Hougang’s Aizil Yazid made his professional debut; at 17 years and 218 days, he became the second-youngest ever debutant goalkeeper in league history after his father Yazid Yasin (16y 309d for Sembawang Rangers on 27 April 1996).
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Andrew Aw (Shameer Aziq 62’), Irfan Najeeb, Ryaan Sanizal, Shuya Yamashita, Amirul Haikal (Irwan Shah 62’), Kyoga Nakamura, Firdaus Kasman, Taufik Suparno (Syed Firdaus Hassan 71’), Yasir Hanapi (C), Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Kevin Wong (GK), Iman Hakim, Ong Yu En, Taras Goh, Ali Manaf.
Hougang: Aizil Yazid (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Anders Aplin, Lionel Tan, Hafiz Sujad (C) (Jordan Vestering 90’+1), Fabian Kwok (Amy Recha 71’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Shawal Anuar (Farhan Zulkifli 83’), Sahil Suhaimi (Shahfiq Ghani 83’), Kristijan Krajček, Pedro Bortoluzo (Shahril Ishak 90’+1)
Unused subs: Zainol Gulam (GK), Faiz Salleh, Muhaimin Suhaimi, Amir Zalani.
Eagles produce five-star show
Tanjong Pagar 0-5 Geylang | Jurong East | 30 July
Vincent Bezecourt 2′, 56′, Takahiro Tezuka 22′, Šime Žužul 24′, Faritz Hameed O.G 67′
An outstanding display by Bezecourt saw him curl home the opener before his spilled shot led to Tezuka nodding into an empty net for the Eagles’ second. The Frenchman did not let up and it was his free-kick that found Žužul’s head for a third before he wrapped up his night with a trademark spectacular drive from outside the area. Jaguars captain Faritz then unfortunately turned the ball into his own goal to complete a miserable night for the home side.
- Geylang went unbeaten in seven straight league matches for the first time since 2014.
- Geylang won by five goals for the first time since a 5-0 win over Balestier in June 2019.
- Tanjong Pagar have conceded seven times in the first 10 minutes – the most by any team this season.
- Geylang’s Zaiful Nizam kept his sixth clean sheet this season – joint-most with Sailors’ Hassan Sunny.
- Bezecourt’s first goal was his first from inside the box this season; the other four have been from outside the area.
- Bezecourt is the first Geylang player to score a brace this season; he also scored and assisted in back-to-back games for the first time in the SPL.
- Žužul scored his 40th SPL goal; he also scored and made an assist in the same match for the first time this season.
- Žužul also scored his first headed goal this season; the previous nine all came via his right foot.
- Bezecourt assisted Žužul for a third time this season, and vice versa.
- Tezuka’s three goals this season have come once each with his right foot, left foot and his head.
- Geylang’s Furqan Raoff made his professional debut.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK) (C), Fathullah Rahmat (Syukri Bashir 76’), Daniel Bennett, Akram Azman (Shahrin Saberin 46’), Shodai Nishikawa, Rusyaidi Salime, Faizal Raffi (Faritz Hameed 46’), Blake Ricciuto, Aqhari Abdullah (Naufal Ilham 66’), Khairul Amri (Khairul Nizam 61’), Reo Nishiguchi.
Unused subs: Veer Karan Sobti (GK), Fashah Iskandar (GK), Emmeric Ong.
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Tajeli Salamat, Faizal Roslan, Abdil Qaiyyim, Rio Sakuma, Ilhan Noor (Ahmad Syahir 46’), Joshua Pereira (Furqan Raoff 82’), Huzaifah Aziz (Danish Siregar 90’), Takahiro Tezuka, Vincent Bezecourt, Šime Žužul (Hazzuwan Halim 84’).
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Umar Akhbar, Khairul Hairie, Kieran Teo.
Tigers taste winning ways again
Balestier 2-0 Young Lions | Toa Payoh | 31 July
Shuhei Hoshino 45′, Kuraba Kondo pen. 76′
Balestier ended a torrid run of form through a goal in each half here. Hoshino swept home Ryoya Taniguchi’s right-wing cross just before the break, before Kondo slotted in coolly from the spot to dispatch their out-of-form visitors.
- Balestier have won twice in their last 11 SPL matches; both wins have come against Young Lions.
- Balestier kept their third clean sheet of the season; two of those have come against Young Lions.
- Young Lions lost for a seventh straight time and have now conceded in each of their last 51 SPL outings.
- Young Lions conceded five penalty goals – the most in the league this season.
- Taniguchi assisted Hoshino for a sixth time – joint-most between any two players in the league along with Tampines’ Kyoga Nakamura for Boris Kopitović; six of Taniguchi’s seven assists have been for Hoshino.
- Hoshino hit double digits for the first time since scoring 19 times in 2018 for Albirex.
Balestier: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Darren Teh, Madhu Mohana, Amer Hakeem, Akmal Azman, Ensar Brunčević, Ho Wai Loon, Ignatius Ang (Naufal Azman 84’), Ryoya Taniguchi, Kuraba Kondo, Shuhei Hoshino (C).
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Keshav Kumar, Aarish Kumar, Daniel Goh, Ammirul Emmran, Puvan Raj, Gareth Low, Ryan Praveen.
Young Lions: Dylan Pereira (GK), Jordan Emaviwe, Syahrul Sazali, Danial Crichton (Raoul Suhaimi 66’), Harith Kanadi, Shah Shahiran (C), Joel Chew (Elijah Lim 71’), Harhys Stewart (Amir Syafiz 79’), Glenn Kweh, Abdul Rasaq (Khairin Nadim 71’), Arshad Shamim (Zikos Chua 79’).
Unused subs: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Syed Akmal, Irfan Iskandar, Moritz Faizal Radewaldt.
The East is yellow again
Geylang 1-4 Tampines | Our Tampines Hub | 3 Aug
Šime Žužul 85′ | Boris Kopitović 17′, 90’+2, Zehrudin Mehmedović 70′, Kyoga Nakamura 87′
Tampines put aside their recent indifferent form to bag a rousing derby win in midweek. Kopitović fired home an unerring finish from a tight angle to draw first blood, before substitute Mehmedović produced a cool finish to make it two. Žužul finished off Rio Sakuma’s through ball to give the hosts hope, but that was swiftly extinguished when Nakamura bent in a 25-yard beauty before setting up Kopitović for his second.
- Tampines won three straight Eastern Derbies in a season for the first time since 2018.
- Geylang lost for the first time in eight matches.
- Tampines have scored nine times after the 80th minute – the most in the league this season.
- Tampines have kept just one clean sheet from 18 matches this season.
- Geylang have conceded eight times after the 80th minute – joint-most with Young Lions this season.
- Geylang conceded from outside the box in open play for a sixth time – joint-most with Balestier this season.
- Nakamura assisted Kopitović for a sixth time – the joint-most between any two players together with Taniguchi for Hoshino.
- Kopitović scored his sixth brace of the season – the most in the league – and is now on 22 goals this season, three more than nearest challenger Tanaka.
- Mehmedović scored his 20th career SPL goal.
- Sakuma made his first SPL assist.
- Tampines’ Iman Hakim made his first start since October 2021.
- Tampines’ Taras Goh made his professional debut.
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Tajeli Salamat, Faizal Roslan, Rio Sakuma, Ahmad Syahir, Joshua Pereira, Huzaifah Aziz (Abdil Qaiyyim 71’), Takahiro Tezuka, Vincent Bezecourt (Danish Siregar 88’), Khairul Hairie (Hazzuwan Halim 46’), Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Ilhan Noor, Umar Akhbar, Kieran Teo, Furqan Raoff.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Irfan Najeeb, Ryaan Sanizal, Shuya Yamashita, Irwan Shah (C), Kyoga Nakamura, Firdaus Kasman (Christopher van Huizen 46’), Syed Firdaus Hassan (Andrew Aw 78’), Ong Yu En (Amirul Haikal 61’), Iman Hakim (Zehrudin Mehmedović 61’), Boris Kopitović (Taras Goh 90’+2).
Unused subs: Sunny Tia (GK), Shameer Aziq, Ethan Pinto, Ali Manaf.