Singapore Premier League • March 14, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 3: Roundup
Young Lions’ Jacob Mahler shields the ball from Albirex Niigata (S)’ Daichi Omori, 12 March 2022
SINGAPORE, 14 MARCH 2022 – Nineteen goals flew in over four matches in another thrilling weekend in the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL), as Tanjong Pagar United overcame Balestier Khalsa in a goal-fest to remain surprise leaders. Albirex Niigata (S) and Lion City Sailors follow closely behind with victories over the Young Lions and Tampines Rovers, while Hougang United edged Geylang International for their first win of the season. We recap all the action below…
Cheetahs off the mark
Hougang 3-2 Geylang | Hougang | 11 March
André Moritz 72′, 90′, Amy Recha pen. 75′ | Šime Žužul 4′, Takahiro Tezuka 89′
Having led for large periods of the game after an early close-range Žužul strike, Geylang fell behind courtesy of two quick-fire goals. Moritz fired home a deflected shot, before Amy converted from the spot after Shawal Anuar was brought down in the area. Tezuka’s crisp strike appeared to give the visitors a point, but an audacious Moritz effort straight from kick-off meant Hougang claimed all the points on a dramatic night.
- This is the first time in 12 league matches that Hougang have won at full-time after trailing at half-time, since 4 August 2019 when they overturned a 2-1 deficit to beat Balestier 4-3.
- Hougang have now won four straight encounters against the Eagles after a five-match win-less run in all competitions previously.
- Geylang have scored at least a goal in each of the last 11 encounters in all competitions.
- Žužul has now scored in each of his last five starts against Hougang.
- Amy scored both the last penalty of the 2021 SPL season and first penalty of 2022.
- Tezuka has scored in all four career appearances against Hougang. Four of his six SPL goals have come against the Cheetahs, while the other two came against his current side.
- Moritz is the first ever Italian to score in the SPL.
- Ahmad Syahir’s assist for Tezuka is his first goal involvement since an assist for Shuhei Hoshino in Balestier’s 2-2 draw with Hougang in March 2020.
- Geylang’s Suria Prakash made his first SPL appearance since December 2020 when he came on a substitute in Tanjong Pagar’s 4-2 loss to Young Lions.
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Lionel Tan (C), Nazhiim Harman (Hafiz Sujad 46’), Zulfahmi Arifin (Anders Aplin 90’+4), Kaishu Yamazaki, André Moritz, Shawal Anuar, Amir Zalani (Fabian Kwok 75’), Sahil Suhaimi (Shahril Ishak 65’), Amy Recha (Kishson Philip 90’+4).
Unused subs: Mukundan Maran (GK), Shahfiq Ghani.
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK)(C), Fadli Kamis (Suria Prakash 87’), Rio Sakuma, Faizal Roslan, Ahmad Syahir, Huzaifah Aziz (Abdil Qaiyyim 87’), Takahiro Tezuka, Hazzuwan Halim, Vincent Bezecourt, Khairul Hairie (Fareez Farhan 76’), Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Ilhan Noor, Umar Akhbar, Danish Siregar, Badrul Amin, Kieran Teo.
Tanaka at it again in another big win
Young Lions 0-5 Albirex | Jalan Besar | 12 March
Kodai Tanaka 34′, 36′, Masahiro Sugita 82′, Fairoz Hasan 87′, Kan Kobayashi pen. 90’+3
Another week, another ruthless Albirex display. Led by the red-hot Tanaka, who produced two excellent finishes to put the White Swans two up at the break, Albirex eventually added three more strikes late on. It could have been different had Jacob Mahler not skied his penalty in the second half and visitors added gloss to the scoreline through close-range finishes from Sugita and substitute Fairoz, before Kobayashi converted from the spot.
- Albirex have now won the last 18 encounters since a 1-0 defeat at Jurong East in November 2015.
- Young Lions have now conceded in 37 straight SPL matches since a 3-0 victory over Home United in September 2019.
- Young Lions lost by a five-goal margin in a season-opening fixture for the first time since 2017 when they were defeated 6-1 by Home United.
- Tanaka has converted six out of his seven shots on target so far in his SPL career – he is currently the top scorer, with three more goals than Tanjong Pagar United’s Reo Nishiguchi.
- Fairoz scored his first goal since November 2020 when he netted in Albirex’s 3-2 over Sailors.
- Albirex’s Sugita and Tadanari Lee have both made assists in two straight games.
- Mahler missed a penalty for this first time in his SPL career – he had converted his previous four attempts.
Young Lions: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Zulqarnaen Suzliman (Syed Akmal 80’), Jacob Mahler (C), Syahrul Sazali, Harith Kanadi (Raoul Suhaimi 68’), Joel Chew, Shah Shahiran (Rezza Rezky 80’), Danish Qayyum (Ilhan Fandi 64’), Daniel Goh (Glenn Kweh 46’), Zikos Chua, Khairin Nadim.
Unused subs: Rauf Erwan (GK), Zamani Zamri, Danial Crichton, Jared Gallagher.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Tatsuya Sambongi (Tsubasa Kawanishi 90’), Jun Kobayashi (C), Keito Hariya, Omori Daichi, Kan Kobayashi, Kakuta Kumpei, Masahiro Sugita, Nicky Melvin Singh (Fairoz Hasan 58’), Tadanari Lee (Mahiro Takahashi 90’), Kodai Tanaka (Kanato Fukazawa 83’).
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Kai Yamamoto (GK), Yoshiki Matsuura, Satsuki Mori, Junki Yoshimura.
Spirited Jaguars fight back to stay unbeaten
Balestier 3-5 Tanjong Pagar | Toa Payoh | 12 March
Kuraba Kondo 23′, Ryoya Taniguchi 28′, Shuhei Hoshino 32′ | Khairul Amri 10′, Blake Ricciuto 18′, Mirko Šugić 50′, 60′, Reo Nishiguchi 82′
In a topsy-turvy game, Tanjong Pagar made a flying start courtesy of Amri’s crafty finish and Ricciuto’s header. However, Balestier roared back and turned the game around before half time through their trio of Japanese attackers. Kondo finished off Brunčević’s through ball before captain Darren Teh produced excellent deliveries to set up headed goals for Taniguchi and Hoshino. Incredibly, the match took another turn as the Jaguars refused to lie down. An excellent Šugić double, with the Croatian midfielder converting a volley and then firing home a snapshot put his side back ahead before Nishiguchi’s low drive rubberstamped a remarkable victory.
- Tanjong Pagar defeated Balestier for the first time in 10 encounters – since a 3-1 win in February 2013. This is their first away win against the Tigers since a 6-0 win in August 2004.
- This is the first time Tanjong Pagar are unbeaten after three matches since 2013, while Balestier have failed to win their first three matches for a second successive season.
- Balestier’s 13 goals conceded after three matches is the most since Young Lions let in a similar amount in 2017 – 6-1 loss to Home United, 5-0 to Albirex and 2-0 to Hougang.
- Balestier have conceded seven headers so far, as many as they did in 2021.
- Balestier’s bench comprised solely Under-23 players – a first in league history.
- Teh made his first assists since September 2018, while Brunčević made his first ever SPL assist.
- Nishiguchi has made an assist in two straight matches; this is also the fourth time he has scored and made an assist in the same game.
- Amri has now scored in 14 SPL seasons.
- Tanjong Pagar’s Ryan Syaffiq made his first SPL appearance since September 2018 in Geylang’s 1-1 draw with Hougang.
Balestier: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Darren Teh, Ensar Brunčević, Delwinder Singh, Gareth Low (Ryan Praveen 74’), Ammirul Emmran, Ho Wai Loon, Aidil Johari (Keshav Kumar 90’+4), Ryoya Taniguchi, Kuraba Kondo, Shuhei Hoshino (C).
Unused subs: Riki Kimura (GK), Hariysh Krishnakumar, Puvan Raj, Aiman Zavyan, Iftiqar Parizan, N. Sakthivelchezhian, Aqil Yazid.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Raihan Rahman, Shahrin Saberin, Faritz Hameed (C), Shodai Nishikawa, Fathullah Rahmat (Faizal Raffi 46’), Blake Ricciuto, Mirko Šugić, Aqhari Abdullah (Ryan Syaffiq 90’), Reo Nishiguchi, Khairul Amri (Khairul Nizam 66’).
Unused subs: Veer Karan Sobti (GK), Fashah Iskandar (GK), Emmeric Ong, Syukri Bashir, Naufal Ilham, Hadiputradila Saswadimata.
Luckless Stags fall to spot-kick
Sailors 1-0 Tampines | Jalan Besar | 13 March
Kim Shin-wook pen. 55′
In a game where Tampines largely dominated proceedings and carved out several opportunities, the Sailors were perhaps fortuitous to claim the three points. Kim converted a Panenka penalty after Haiqal Pashia was fouled but the hosts created little otherwise. The Stags saw strikes from Firdaus Kasman and Zehrudin Mehmedović ruled out for offside, while Hassan Sunny came up with several good saves to foil them.
- The Sailors have now won four straight encounters against the Stags since 2021.
- The Sailors have not lost any of the 24 SPL matches in which they have scored first in their history, drawing three and winning the other 21.
- The Sailors kept only their second clean sheet in 14 outings (including the AIA Community Shield) under Kim Do-hoon – Hariss Harun and Amirul Adli were the starting centre-backs on both occasions (the other being a 3-0 win over Geylang in September 2021).
- Tampines failed to win either of their opening two games for the first time since 2012.
- Tampines have won one of their last 12 SPL matches since May 2021.
- Sailors’ Diego Lopes made his first start and completed 90 minutes for the first time in eight matches (including the Shield) – since a 3-1 win over Young Lions in September 2021.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK), Naqiuddin Eunos (Adam Swandi 46’), Amirul Adli, Hariss Harun (C), Iqram Rifqi, Shahdan Sulaiman, Saifullah Akbar (Hafiz Nor 46’), Song Uiyoung (Gabriel Quak 85’), Diego Lopes, Haiqal Pashia (Hami Syahin 69’), Kim Shin-wook.
Unused subs: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Maxime Lestienne, Amiruldin Asraf, Bill Mamadou, Anaqi Ismit.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Christopher van Huizen, Shuya Yamashita, Ryaan Sanizal, Irwan Shah (Amirul Haikal 87’), Ong Yu En (Adam Reefdy 66’), Kyoga Nakamura, Zehrudin Mehmedović, Taufik Suparno (Firdaus Kasman 66’), Yasir Hanapi (C) (Marc Ryan Tan 80’), Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Iman Hakim, Syed Firdaus Hassan, Irfan Najeeb, Andrew Aw.