Singapore Premier League • March 21, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 4: Roundup
Tanjong Pagar United’s Faizal Raffi (L) battles Geylang International’s Vincent Bezecourt, 19 March 2022
SINGAPORE, 21 MARCH 2022 – Another 19 goals were scored in the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) over the weekend, the same as in Matchweek 3, while Tanjong Pagar United remained top as well. Last season’s top two sides, Albirex Niigata (S) and Lion City Sailors, played out a draw to follow closely behind while Tampines Rovers and Balestier Khalsa clinched their first wins of the season by defeating Hougang United and Young Lions respectively. We recap all the action below…
Sailors rescue late point
Albirex 1-1 Sailors | Jurong East | 18 March
Daichi Omori 45’ | Gabriel Quak pen. 90’+1
A pearler from range by left-back Omori just before the break broke the deadlock in a tight game and looked like it would be the match-winner, until a late twist. The Sailors got a reprieve when Kim Shin-wook was adjudged to have been felled in the box, paving the way for substitute Quak to calmly stroke home from the spot to earn a share of the spoils.
- Five of the seven encounters in all competitions have been decided by goals after the 86th minute.
- Albirex are the only team that the Sailors have failed to beat in the league, with a record of four draws and two defeats.
- Since their 2020 establishment, no team has scored more league goals in injury time than the Sailors – seven (same as Albirex).
- Albirex conceded in injury time for the first time since May 2021 when they let in a 95th-minute Boris Kopitović penalty in a 2-2 draw with Tampines.
- This is the first time the Sailors have netted penalties in back-to-back games.
- Fairoz Hasan became the first ever Singaporean to captain Albirex in a SPL game.
- Omori’s goal means Albirex now have seven different scorers this season – the most by team so far.
- Quak scored his first penalty goal since July 2019 in Warriors FC’s 3-3 draw with Brunei DPMM; this was the third penalty goal of his career.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Yoshiki Matsuura (Tatsuya Sambongi 57’) Jun Kobayashi (C), Keito Hariya, Omori Daichi, Kan Kobayashi, Kakuta Kumpei, Kanato Fukazawa (Satsuki Mori 69’), Nicky Melvin Singh (Tsubasa Kawanishi 69’), Fairoz Hasan (C) (Mahiro Takahashi 77’), Kodai Tanaka.
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Kai Yamamoto (GK), Fikri Junaidi, Hilman Norhisam, Junki Yoshimura.
Sailors: Hassan Sunny (GK), Tajeli Salamat (Nur Adam Abdullah 46’), Amirul Adli, Hariss Harun (C), Iqram Rifqi (Gabriel Quak 77’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Adam Swandi (Haiqal Pashia 62’), Hafiz Nor, Diego Lopes, Anaqi Ismit (Maxime Lestienne 46’), Amiruldin Asraf (Kim Shin-wook 67’).
Unused subs: Izwan Mahbud (GK), M. Anumanthan, Hami Syahin, Faris Ramli.
Sparkling Stags back in winning groove
Tampines 7-1 Hougang | Our Tampines Hub | 18 March
Boris Kopitović 11’, 46’, 87’, Taufik Suparno 22’, 50’, Zehrudin Mehmedović 42’, Marc Ryan Tan 84’ | Shawal Anuar 52’
A goal-fest was started by Kopitović, who lashed in a left-footed stunner from just outside the area, before strike partner Taufik netted a close-range finish and Mehmedović joined the party with a stunning bicycle kick before half time. Kopitović and Taufik grabbed a second each to put the Stags five goals up, before Shawal pulled one back immediately to give Hougang some hope. However, Gavin Lee’s men did not let up and Tan got in on the act before Kopitović completed his hat-trick late on.
- Tampines recorded their first win over Hougang at OTH since August 2018.
- This is Tampines’ biggest win over Hougang since a 5-1 win at Jalan Besar in March 2019.
- Tampines scored seven for the first time since April 2021 when they thrashed Young Lions 7-0; that was also the last time that a Tampines player scored a hat-trick – it came from Kopitović also.
- This is Hougang’s heaviest-ever SPL defeat, surpassing a 5-0 defeat to Home United in March 2011.
- This is also the first time Hougang have conceded seven goals in their history – the previous most was six in a 6-4 League Cup defeat to Tampines in July 2016.
- Hougang have conceded in each of their last 11 matches since a 1-0 win over Young Lions in August 2021.
- Kopitović has now scored eight times in his last five outings against the Cheetahs.
- Nakamura made three assists in a match for the first time in his career. He is the first player to do so since Hazzuwan Halim for Balestier in a 3-2 win over Hougang in October 2021.
- Mehmedović made his 15th SPL assist, while Kopitović made two assists in a match for the first time in his SPL career.
- Taufik scored his second SPL brace – his first came in Young Lions’ 4-3 loss to Warriors in April 2017.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Christopher van Huizen (Andrew Aw 74’), Ryaan Sanizal (Adam Reefdy 68’), Shuya Yamashita, Irwan Shah, Ong Yu En (Firdaus Kasman 74’), Kyoga Nakamura, Zehrudin Mehmedović, Taufik Suparno (Marc Ryan Tan 82’), Yasir Hanapi (C) (Syed Firdaus Hassan 82’), Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Iman Hakim, Shameer Aziq, Amirul Haikal.
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Lionel Tan, Zulfahmi Arifin, Farhan Zulkifli (Kishson Philip 79’), Fabian Kwok (C) (Shahfiq Ghani 85’), Kaishu Yamazaki, André Moritz (Anders Aplin 56’), Shawal Anuar, Amir Zalani (Sahil Suhaimi 46’), Amy Recha (Shahril Ishak 79’).
Unused subs: Mukundan Maran (GK), Aizil Yazid (GK), Nazhiim Harman.
Jaguars remain unbeaten
Tanjong Pagar 1-1 Geylang | Jurong East | 19 March
Reo Nishiguchi 63’ | Hazzuwan Halim 74’
After seeing a first-half effort come off the post, Nishiguchi made it count after the break as he latched onto Mirko Šugić’s ball over the top before calmly slotting past Zaiful Nizam to give Tanjong Pagar the lead. However, Geylang would deny them the three points through Hazzuwan, who curled a left-footed effort in off the post after an electric breakaway led by substitute Fareez Farhan.
- Tanjong Pagar have gone undefeated in their first four matches of the season for the first time since 2000 – when they went their first 11 matches without defeat.
- Tanjong Pagar are now undefeated in their last seven SPL matches – their best run of form since the aforementioned 11-match streak.
- Hazzuwan scored his first left-footed goal since November 2020 in Balestier’s 2-0 win over Geylang; he has now scored in seven straight SPL seasons.
- Fareez collected his first assist since November 2020 in Geylang’s 2-0 win over Hougang.
- Šugić assisted Nishiguchi for a second time this season.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Raihan Rahman, Shahrin Saberin (Emmeric Ong 62’), Faritz Hameed (C), Naufal Ilham (Fathullah Rahmat 81’), Faizal Raffi, Blake Ricciuto, Mirko Šugić, Aqhari Abdullah, Reo Nishiguchi, Syukri Bashir (Khairul Nizam 46’).
Unused subs: Veer Karan Sobti (GK), Fashah Iskandar (GK), Daniel Bennett, Ryan Syaffiq, Khairul Amri, Hadiputradila Saswadimata.
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Fadli Kamis, Abdil Qaiyyim, Rio Sakuma, Faizal Roslan, Huzaifah Aziz (Fareez Farhan 64’), Takahiro Tezuka, Hazzuwan Halim (Ilhan Noor 85’), Vincent Bezecourt, Khairul Hairie (Ahmad Syahir 46’), Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Suria Prakash, Yeo Hai Ngee, Kieran Teo, Azri Suhaili, Ariffin Noor.
Tigers find their roar
Balestier 4-3 Young Lions | Toa Payoh | 19 March
Ryoya Taniguchi 41’, Kuraba Kondo 44’, 62’, Shuhei Hoshino 85’ | Zikos Chua 16’, Zulqarnaen Suzliman 54’, Ilhan Fandi 89’
In a topsy-turvy game, Chua bundled home a rebound to give Young Lions an early lead. Balestier turned it around when Taniguchi converted Kondo’s cross from close range, before returning the favour just before the break. The away side equalised through a deflected strike from Zulqarnaen but Balestier surged ahead again when Kondo finished off Gareth Low’s free-kick and Hoshino tucked away Taniguchi’s cut-back. Ilhan pulled one back with an excellent header but the Young Lions would have nothing to show for in the end despite their efforts.
- Balestier won for the first time in five encounters.
- Young Lions have now conceded at least a goal in each of their last 38 SPL matches since a 3-0 win over Home United in September 2019.
- Balestier have now conceded eight headers this season – more than 2021’s tally of seven.
- Balestier head coach Akbar Nawas won his first SPL match since October 2016, when he led Tampines to a 5-1 win over Albirex.
- Taniguchi, Kondo and Hoshino have all netted in successive matches.
- Taniguchi scored his 15th SPL goal; this is also the third time in the SPL that he has made two assists in one match.
- Taniguchi assisted Kondo for the fifth time in the SPL – he did so four times in 2021 when both were still with Albirex.
- Chua scored his first SPL goal since July 2019 in Geylang’s 1-0 win over Albirex, while Zulqarnaen scored his first since September 2019 in Young Lions’ 3-0 win over Home United.
- Five of Ilhan’s 12 SPL goals have come from headers.
- Low made his first assist since October 2020 in Albirex’s 3-2 win over Sailors.
- Balestier’s Aarish Kumar made his first appearance since April 2021 in a 4-1 loss to Albirex.
- Young Lions’ Jared Gallagher made his SPL debut, while Danish Qayyum made his first career assist.
Balestier: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Darren Teh (Delwinder Singh 85’), Aqil Yazid, Ensar Brunčević, Gareth Low, Aarish Kumar (Ignatius Ang 55’), Ho Wai Loon (C) (Naufal Azman 77’), Aidil Johari, Ryoya Taniguchi, Kuraba Kondo, Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Keshav Kumar, Hariysh Krishnakumar, Puvan Raj, Aiman Zavyan, Larry Lim.
Young Lions: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Syed Akmal, Jacob Mahler (C), Raoul Suhaimi (Harith Kanadi 46’), Jared Gallagher, Shah Shahiran, Glenn Kweh (Danish Qayyum 69’), Joel Chew, Arshad Shamim (Khairin Nadim 46’), Zikos Chua (Ilhan Fandi 54’).
Unused subs: Umar Sujuandy (GK), Syabil Hisham, Amir Syafiq, Danial Crichton, Ryu Hardy.