Singapore Premier League • March 7, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 2: Roundup
Vincent Bezecourt (no. 10) struck a stunning winner on his Geylang International debut, 4 March 2022
SINGAPORE, 7 MARCH 2022 – The 27th season of the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) continued to deliver thrills and spills in the second Matchweek, with defending champions Lion City Sailors humbled by Geylang International while Tanjong Pagar United held title aspirants Hougang United to take over at the summit. Meanwhile, Albirex Niigata (S) bounced back from their opening-day defeat with a ruthless thrashing of Balestier Khalsa. We recap all the action below…
Eagles pull off ultimate upset
Geylang 1-0 Sailors | Our Tampines Hub | 4 March
Vincent Bezecourt 9’
Not many gave Geylang a chance but an early stunner from the edge of the area by French debutant Bezecourt after the Sailors had carelessly conceded possession made all the difference. Reduced to 10 men after Pedro Henrique was sent off for a professional foul on Šime Žužul, the champions huffed and puffed but could not bring the Eagles’ house down as they fell to their first defeat in a year.
- Geylang registered their first ever win over Sailors after six attempts.
- The Sailors suffered their first defeat in 20 league matches and failed to score for the first time in 35 league matches since March 2020 (a 4-0 loss to Tampines).
- The Sailors had never conceded in the first 10 minutes until this season – it has now happened two matches in a row.
- Both goals conceded by the Sailors this season have been from outside the box – no other team has conceded such goals so far. Last season, the Sailors only conceded two such goals.
- Geylang extended their 100 per cent record in season-opening matches at OTH to three – following a 1-0 win over Albirex in 2019 and a 2-1 victory over Tanjong Pagar in 2021.
- Bezecourt is the first player to score a match-winner this season – he is also the first Frenchman to score in the SPL since August 2019 when Jonathan Behe did in Warriors FC’s 2-1 win over Albirex.
- Sailors’ Amiruldin Asraf made his first start since October 2019 in Home United’s 2-2 RHB Singapore Cup draw with Warriors – he had been an unused substitute on 10 occasions since 2021.
- Huzaifah Aziz made his first Geylang appearance since November 2015 when he scored an own goal in a 2-2 draw with Young Lions.
- Geylang’s Khairul Hairie made his professional debut.
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Fadli Kamis, Rio Sakuma, Faizal Roslan, Ahmad Syahir, Huzaifah Aziz, Takahiro Tezuka, Hazzuwan Halim (Umar Akhbar 86’), Vincent Bezecourt, Khairul Hairie (Fareez Farhan 62’), Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Ilhan Noor, Suria Prakash, Badrul Amin, Kieran Teo, Azri Suhaili, Furqan Raoff.
Sailors: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Tajeli Salamat, Hariss Harun (C), Pedro Henrique, Iqram Rifqi, M. Anumanthan, Adam Swandi (Hafiz Nor 72’), Song Uiyoung (Diego Lopes 46’), Saifullah Akbar (Amirul Adli 46’), Faris Ramli (Maxime Lestienne 55’), Amiruldin Asraf (Kim Shin-wook 46’).
Unused subs: Hassan Sunny (GK), Shahdan Sulaiman, Hami Syahin, Naqiuddin Eunos.
Red Card: Pedro Henrique (Sailors) 34’
Six-star White Swans rediscover groove
Albirex 6-0 Balestier | Jurong East | 5 March
Kodai Tanaka 34’, 55’, 60’, 68’, Tadanari Lee 57’, Jun Kobayashi 67’
Leading by one at the break courtesy of Tanaka’s stooping header off Kan Kobayashi’s cross, Albirex then scored five in the space of 13 astonishing minutes to demolish Balestier. Tanaka netted another two headers in between Tadanari Lee’s first league goal for the White Swans, before captain Jun Kobayashi got onto the act by nodding in Masaya Idetsu’s cross. Tanaka then finished the night off with his fourth headed goal of the night via a rebound to round off the drubbing.
- On the last five occasions Albirex lost in the SPL, they have bounced back in the following game by winning by at least three goals.
- Balestier’s win-less streak against Albirex has extended to 21 matches in all competitions since October 2015. They have now conceded 14 goals in their last three encounters against the White Swans.
- Balestier are the first team to concede five in the second half since Tampines Rovers in a 6-1 loss against Sailors in September 2021.
- Tanaka is the first player to score more than three headers in a match since Andrei Varankou netted three in Brunei DPMM’s 7-1 win over Balestier in April 2019.
- Tanaka is the first player to score four goals in a match since Kiyoshiro Tsuboi did for the White Swans in a 4-4 draw against Tanjong Pagar in October 2021.
- Lee and Tanaka are the first to assist each other in the same match since Tomoyuki Doi and Gilberto Fortunato did in Hougang’s 7-3 win over Tampines in September 2021.
- Balestier’s Iftiqar Parizan made his professional debut. He is the 23rd Singaporean player to make his professional debut for Balestier since 2019; only the Young Lions have had more (25).
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Jun Kobayashi (C), Keito Hariya, Omori Daichi, Masaya Idetsu, Kakuta Kumpei, Kan Kobayashi, Masahiro Sugita, Nicky Melvin Singh (Kanato Fukazawa 77’), Kodai Tanaka (Fairoz Hasan 79’), Tadanari Lee (Junki Yoshimura 90’+2).
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Kai Yamamoto (GK), Tatsuya Sambongi, Mahiro Takahashi, Hilman Norhisam, Yoshiki Matsuura.
Balestier: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Darren Teh (Keshav Kumar 82’), Ensar Brunčević, Delwinder Singh, Gareth Low, Ammirul Emmran, Ho Wai Loon (Ignatius Ang 77’), Iftiqar Parizan (Naufal Azman 46’), Ryoya Taniguchi, Kuraba Kondo, Shuhei Hoshino (C).
Unused subs: Riki Kimura (GK), Rudy Khairullah (GK), Aiman Zavyan, Ryan Praveen, Asraf Rilwan, N. Sakthivelchezhian.
Jaguars continue to impress
Tanjong Pagar 2-2 Hougang | Jurong East | 6 March
Khairul Nizam 72’, Shodai Nishikawa 88’ | Nazrul Nazari 77’, Kaishu Yamazaki 79’
A tentative game was brought to life in the final 20 minutes when Nizam bundled home Nishikawa’s low cross to put Tanjong Pagar ahead. Then, Hougang turned the tie around with two quick-fire goals with Nazrul finishing off a sumptuous André Moritz long ball before Yamazaki exchanged passes with Sahil en route to flicking the ball past Zharfan Rohaizad. However, there was one last twist in the tale as Nishikawa popped up at the far post to nod home Reo Nishiguchi’s knock-on for a share of the spoils.
- Tanjong Pagar are now unbeaten in their last four encounters against Hougang since 2021 – they are still undefeated against Hougang at home since returning to the SPL in 2020, with a record of four draws.
- Tanjong Pagar top the SPL table after the first two matches for the first time since 2001. They were then under Tohari Paijan and opened the season by edging Marine Castle United 1-0 before thumping Jurong FC 5-1.
- Nishikawa’s goal was his first headed goal in the SPL.
- Nishikawa both scored and assisted a goal in the same match for a second time in the SPL; the first instance was in November 2020.
- Hougang have failed to win their last five SPL matches – their worst run of form since a seven-match run in March 2019.
- This is the first time Hougang have failed to win their first two matches of the season since 2018, when they went the first 10 games without a victory.
- Nizam scored his first goal since November 2020 in Geylang’s 1-1 draw with Tampines – he did not net any in six appearances for Hougang in 2021.
- Hougang’s Amir Zalani made his first start since June 2019 in Hougang’s 2-0 win over Home United.
- Hougang’s Shahril Ishak’s substitute appearance means that he has now featured in 15 domestic league seasons.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Emmeric Ong (Shahrin Saberin 82’), Fathullah Rahmat (Khairul Amri 64’), Faritz Hameed (C), Shodai Nishikawa, Raihan Rahman, Blake Ricciuto, Mirko Šugić, Aqhari Abdullah, Reo Nishiguchi, Syukri Bashir (Khairul Nizam 46’).
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Ameer Fiqr (GK), Faizal Raffi, Naufal Ilham, Ryan Syaffiq, Hadiputradila Saswadimata.
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Muhaimin Suhaimi (Shahril Ishak 76’), Lionel Tan (C), Kaishu Yamazaki, Nazhiim Harman, Nazrul Nazari, Zulfahmi Arifin, André Moritz, Shawal Anuar, Amir Zalani (Sahil Suhaimi 69’), Pedro Bortoluzo (Amy Recha 56’).
Unused subs: Mukundan Maran (GK), Anders Aplin, Fabian Kwok.