Singapore Premier League • October 23, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 28: Roundup
Geylang International celebrate, 21 October 2022.
SINGAPORE, 23 OCTOBER 2022 – With the top three spots already sealed, all eyes were on the race for fourth in the final Matchweek of the 2022 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) season. In the end, it was Geylang International who clinched it by getting the point they needed with a draw against champions Albirex Niigata (S). That meant Hougang United were pipped on goal difference despite their win against Balestier Khalsa, while Tanjong Pagar United went down to Tampines Rovers to end their hopes. Meanwhile, dethroned champions Lion City Sailors ended the season on a positive note by edging the Young Lions. We recap all the action below…
READ: 2022 Season Wrap | Albirex seal title
Handsome win not enough for Cheetahs
Hougang 4-1 Balestier | Hougang | 20 October
Pedro Bortoluzo 7′, 90’+7, Kristijan Krajček 21′, André Moritz 37′ | Daniel Goh 84′
After Bortoluzo pounced on a poor Ignatius Ang back pass to slot home, Krajček netted a deflected free-kick before turning provider to tee up Moritz for a classy chested finish as Hougang led by three at the break. Goh lifted the ball over Aizil Yazid to pull one back for Balestier, but Bortuluzo thumped home an emphatic volley off Muhaimin Suhaimi’s cross to complete his brace and the Cheetahs’ victory.
- Balestier have won just one of their last eight matches.
- Hougang have conceded in each of their last 15 league matches.
- Bortoluzo has scored 15 goals in his last 13 SPL outings; he also scored his second brace of the season.
- Hougang have scored six times after the 90th minute, the most of any team in the league this season.
- Krajček has three goals and 12 assists in his last eight appearances – he finished as the league’s second-highest assister with 17.
- Goh scored in four straight SPL matches for the first time – he had never netted more than once in a season before this campaign.
Hougang: Zainol Gulam (GK) (Aizil Yazid 81’), Nazrul Nazari, Anders Aplin, Fabian Kwok (C), Farhan Zulkifli (Muhaimi Suhaimi 75’), Zulfahmi Arifin, André Moritz (Shahril Ishak 86’), Kristijan Krajček, Shawal Anuar (Amy Recha 81’), Sahil Suhaimi (Afiq Noor 75’), Pedro Bortoluzo.
Unused subs: Lionel Tan, Shahfiq Ghani, Amir Zalani, Ajay Robson.
Balestier: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Darren Teh, Madhu Mohana, Ignatius Ang (Delwinder Singh 46’), Gareth Low (Aarish Kumar 86’), Daniel Goh, Ho Wai Loon (Puvan Raj 86’), Ammirul Emmran (Akmal Azman 46’), Ryoya Taniguchi (Asshukrie Wahid 61’), Kuraba Kondo, Shuhei Hoshino (C).
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Hariysh Krishnakumar, Iftiqar Parizan, Asraf Rifwan.
Stags end season on a high
Tampines 4-3 Tanjong Pagar | Our Tampines Hub | 20 October
Yasir Hanapi 20′, Boris Kopitović pen. 61′, pen. 73′, Joel Chew 90’+3 | Blake Ricciuto 14′, Mirko Šugić 27′, Khairul Nizam 74′
In a topsy-turvy affair, Ricciuto’s headed opener was cancelled out by Yasir’s close-range finish before Tanjong Pagar retook the lead through Šugić nodding in Shodai Nishikawa’s pin-point corner. Kopitović then netted two precise penalties to turn the game around for Tampines, but the visiting Jaguars pulled level almost immediately with Nizam curling home from improbable range to make it 3-3. However, the home side would have the last laugh thanks to super-sub Chew, who was Johnny on the spot to tap home an injury-time winner after Kopitović prodded the ball into his path.
- Tampines finished among the top four for a 21st successive season – the last time they failed to do so was in 2001, when they finished sixth.
- Tampines ended the season with an eight-match unbeaten run.
- Tampines have won three times and six times in matches where they were trailing at half-time and had conceded first respectively this season – both the most of any team.
- Tanjong Pagar have won two of their last 11 games.
- Kopitović scored the third-most goals (35) in one league season – behind Aleksandar Duric (37 in 2007) and Mirko Grabovac (39 in 2001), both for Singapore Armed Forces FC.
- None of his goals were headed ones – 30 were with his right foot, five with his left.
- Kopitović’s 15 assists means that he had 47 goal involvements – the most of any player this season. It contributes to almost 62 per cent of Tampines’ 76 goals.
- Kopitović scored his 11th brace of the season, the most by any player this season.
- Kopitović scored and assisted in the same match for a 10th time this season, the most by any player.
- Ricciuto scored in four straight SPL games for the first time.
- All five of Nizam’s goals have come as a substitute – no other player has scored more as a substitute (Gabriel Quak of the Sailors also has five).
- Chew scored his first league goal for Tampines since July 2019 in a 4-2 win against Hougang.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Irfan Najeeb, Ryaan Sanizal, Shuya Yamashita, Irwan Shah, Kyoga Nakamura, Zehrudin Mehmedović (Firdaus Kasman 87’), Syed Firdaus Hassan (Ong Yu En 64’), Taufik Suparno (Joel Chew 78’), Yasir Hanapi (C) (Rezza Rezky 87’), Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Iman Hakim, Shameer Aziq, Christopher van Huizen, Andrew Aw.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Daniel Bennett, Shakir Hamzah, Faritz Hameed (C) (Shahrin Saberin 78’), Akram Azman (Aqhari Abdullah 64’), Blake Ricciuto, Mirko Šugić, Fathullah Rahmat (Rusyaidi Salime 64’), Shodai Nishikawa, Khairul Amri (Khairul Nizam 67’), Reo Nishiguchi.
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Emmeric Ong, Syukri Bashir, Naufal Ilham, Ryan Syaffiq.
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Eagles hold their nerve
Geylang 1-1 Albirex | Our Tampines Hub | 21 October
Šime Žužul pen. 64′ | Kodai Tanaka 74′
Žužul clinically converted from the spot after Vincent Bezecourt was brought down by Shogo Tokomura to put Geylang ahead, before the red-hot Tanaka headed home Masahiro Sugita’s cross to help Albirex claim a share of the spoils. There was joy for both sides at the end with Geylang celebrating a fourth-placed finish, while Albirex lifted their fifth title in seven years.
- Geylang ended the season with just two losses in their last 17 matches.
- Geylang were seventh after 13 matches played this season, but have come back in the latter half of the campaign to take fourth spot.
- Sixteen of Tanaka’s 33 goals this season have come via headers.
- Žužul has scored 13 times in his last 14 SPL appearances.
- Albirex’s Hyrulnizam Juma’at made his first SPL appearance since 2019 in the White Swans’ 1-0 win over Home United.
- Hyrulnizam, Nicky Melvin Singh and Ilhan Fandi started together – this was the first time in Albirex’s history that three Singaporeans started a SPL match.
- Ilhan finished as the top-scoring Singaporean with 17 goals and the top-scoring Singaporean teenager in one single season in league history.
- Azri Suhaili made the bench for the most times by an outfield player this season – 12 – without coming on as a substitute.
Geylang: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Tajeli Salamat, Rio Sakuma, Faizal Roslan, Ilhan Noor (Ahmad Syahir 80’), Huzaifah Aziz (Hazzuwan Halim 80’), Joshua Pereira, Takahiro Tezuka, Umar Akhbar, Vincent Bezecourt, Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Fareez Farhan, Muhd Noor Ariff, Khairul Hairie, Qayyum Raishyan, Kieran Teo, Azri Suhaili.
Albirex: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Jun Kobayashi (C), Keito Hariya, Tatsuya Sambongi (Shogo Toyomura 46’), Masaya Idetsu, Kumpei Kakuta, Kan Kobayashi, Nicky Melvin Singh (Kanato Fukazawa 78’), Masahiro Sugita, Ilhan Fandi (Tadanari Lee 65’), Kodai Tanaka.
Unused subs: Takahiro Koga (GK), Kai Yamamoto (GK), Mahiro Takahashi, Reo Kunimoto, Zamani Zamri, Junki Yoshimura.
Faris at the double
Sailors 2-1 Young Lions | Jalan Besar | 21 October
Faris Ramli 48′, 67′ | Jordan Emaviwe pen. 84′
After producing an unerring finish into the bottom left corner to put the Sailors ahead, Faris was on the act again as he benefitted from Izwan Mahbud’s ball over the top to clip the ball over Ridhwan Fikri for a delightful second. Emaviwe then halved the deficit from the spot, but it was too little too late for the Young Lions.
- Young Lions’ eight-point haul is their second-lowest point tally since they amassed six in a 24-game season in 2017.
- Young Lions have finished with less than 10 points in four out of their last seven seasons.
- Young Lions have conceded in each of their last 63 outings – they are the only side not to keep a clean sheet this season.
- Young Lions conceded the joint-most goals in a season with 103 – Balestier Central let in the same number in a 33-game season in 2002.
- Faris scored his second brace of the season.
- Faris reached 45 career SPL goals.
- Izwan is the first goalkeeper to make an assist in the SPL since Zaiful Nizam did for Balestier in May 2021.
- Izwan became the 16th different player to make an assist for the Sailors this season – no other team has more.
- Emaviwe scored in three straight matches for the first time in his career – all three goals were scored after the 80th minute.
Sailors: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Hafiz Nor (Bill Mamadou 71’), Amirul Adli, Hariss Harun (C), Naqiuddin Eunos (Kim Shin-wook 46’), M. Anumanthan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Faris Ramli, Adam Swandi (Hami Syahin 63’), Saifullah Akbar, Gabriel Quak (Haiqal Pashia 85’).
Unused subs: Adib Nur Hakim (GK), Hassan Sunny (GK), Iqram Rifqi, Glenn Ong.
Young Lions: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Raoul Suhaimi, Danial Crichton, Syed Akmal, Arshad Shamim (Jared Gallagher 77’), Shah Shahiran (C), Ryu Hardy (Fairuz Fazli 77’), Elijah Lim (Glenn Kweh 54’), Jordan Emaviwe, Amir Syafiz (Harith Kanadi 63’), Danish Qayyum (Khairin Nadim 77’).
Unused subs: Dylan Pereira (GK), Abdul Rasaq, Syahrul Sazali, Harhys Stewart.