Singapore Premier League • April 11, 2022
2022 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 7: Roundup – Part 1
Tampines Rovers’ Christopher van Huizen makes a tackle on Albirex Niigata (S) forward Masahiro Sugita, 9 April 2022
SINGAPORE, 11 APRIL 2022 – Champions Lion City Sailors extended their lead at the top of the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) after walloping Tanjong Pagar United in a top-of-the-table clash on the weekend, while title aspirants Albirex Niigata (S) continued to flounder after a draw with Tampines Rovers. Elsewhere, Balestier Khalsa clinched a second straight win by beating Geylang International to climb to fourth and Hougang United ended their recent torrid form by trumping the Young Lions. We recap all the action below…
White Swans drop points again
Tampines 3-3 Albirex | Our Tampines Hub | 9 April
Boris Kopitović pen. 31′, 36′, Firdaus Kasman 45′ | Kodai Tanaka 9′, Jun Kobayashi 13′, Tadanari Lee 67′
Albirex raced into an early two-goal lead with Tanaka slotting in from close range before captain Jun Kobayashi took advantage of some hesitant Stags defending to lash in an emphatic finish. But Tampines rallied strongly and Kopitović pulled one back from the spot before restoring parity with a stunning left-footed finish from a tight angle. Remarkably, Gavin Lee’s men went 3-2 up just before the break with captain Yasir Hanapi’s industry resulting in Firdaus firing inside the near post, but the lead would not last. Lee rescued a point for the White Swans by tapping in a rebound after Tanaka’s header was parried into his path to leave both sides with a point each.
- Albirex have now let slip leads to draw in their last four matches; this is the first time they have gone four matches without a win in a season since 2019.
- Albirex are now win-less in their last five visits to OTH to face Tampines.
- Albirex have now just won two out of their last 11 SPL games since September 2021.
- This is the first time Tampines have not kept a clean sheet in their opening six games since an 11-match run in the 2006 season.
- Kopitović has now scored seven times in five matches against Albirex.
- Kopitović scored in four straight games for the second time in his SPL career – the first occasion came in April 2021.
- Firdaus scored his first SPL goal since April 2019 in Geylang’s 5-2 win over Warriors FC; it was also his first goal for Tampines since February 2013 in a 5-0 win over Geylang.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Christopher van Huizen (Andrew Aw 63’), Ryaan Sanizal (Adam Reefdy 72’), Shuya Yamashita, Irwan Shah, Firdaus Kasman (Ong Yu En 63’), Kyoga Nakamura, Zehrudin Mehmedović (Syed Firdaus Hassan 84’), Taufik Suparno (Marc Ryan Tan 72’), Yasir Hanapi (C), Boris Kopitović.
Unused subs: Danial Iliya (GK), Iman Hakim, Amirul Haikal, Irfan Najeeb.
Albirex: Takahiro Koga (GK), Tatsuya Sambongi, Jun Kobayashi (C), Keito Hariya, Daichi Omori, Kan Kobayashi, Kumpei Kakuta, Masahiro Sugita, Nicky Melvin Singh (Kanato Fukazawa 46’), Tadanari Lee (Fairoz Hasan 86’), Kodai Tanaka.
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Mahiro Takahashi, Reo Kunimoto, Tsubasa Kawanishi, Yoshiki Matsuura, Satsuki Mori, Junki Yoshimura.
Sailors crush Jaguars
Sailors 6-1 Tanjong Pagar | Jalan Besar | 9 April
Diego Lopes 8′, 28′, Shahdan Sulaiman 32′, Kim Shin-wook 46′, Hafiz Nor 72′, Maxime Lestienne 90′ | Pedro Henrique O.G 71′
Lopes was the star of the show for Sailors as he netted an early brace, first looping home a majestic header off Iqram Rifqi’s deep cross before benefiting from Gabriel Quak’s slide-rule pass to fire a crisp strike past Zharfan Rohaizad. Close-range strikes by Shahdan and Kim on either side of the break put the home side four up, before Tanjong Pagar pulled one back through Pedro Henrique’s own goal. However, the champions finished off with a flourish with Belgian winger Lestienne teeing up Hafiz to score before getting to the end of Faris Ramli’s cross to net his first goal in Singapore.
- The Sailors are now undefeated in six encounters against the Jaguars since their 2020 inception.
- The Sailors scored six for the first time since September 2021 in a 6-1 win over Tampines, while Tanjong Pagar let in six for the first time since April 2021 in a 6-0 loss to Albirex.
- Shahdan scored his first SPL goal since May 2021; that was also his first left-footed goal since November 2017 in Tampines’ 5-0 away win over Brunei DPMM.
- Daniel Bennett made his first start for Tanjong Pagar since 2001; he is the second-oldest player to start a match in SPL history at 44 years and 92 days.
- Tanjong Pagar’s Blake Ricciuto made his 50th SPL appearance.
Sailors: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Tajeli Salamat (Faris Ramli 83’), Hariss Harun (C), Pedro Henrique, Iqram Rifqi, Shahdan Sulaiman, M. Anumanthan, Gabriel Quak (Hafiz Nor 63’), Diego Lopes (Adam Swandi 83’), Anaqi Ismit (Maxime Lestienne 46’), Kim Shin-wook (Song Uiyoung 70’).
Unused subs: Adib Nur Hakim (GK), Amirul Adli, Hami Syahin, Nur Adam Abdullah.
Tanjong Pagar: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Emmeric Ong, Daniel Bennett, Faritz Hameed (C), Shodai Nishikawa, Fathullah Rahmat (Khairul Amri 46’), Blake Ricciuto, Mirko Šugić, Aqhari Abdullah (Faizal Raffi 75’), Reo Nishiguchi, Khairul Nizam (Rusyaidi Salime 27’).
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Syukri Bashir, Naufal Ilhan, Ryan Syaffiq, Hadiputradila Saswadimata, Azim Akbar.
Cheetahs get much-needed lift-off
Hougang 2-1 Young Lions | Hougang | 10 April
Zulfahmi Arifin 38′, Sahil Suhaimi 52′ | Ryhan Stewart 41′
In a closely-fought affair, Hougang broke the deadlock just before half time when Zulfahmi netted an absolute rocket from range. However, the Young Lions levelled almost immediately with Stewart prodding in from a yard out after great work down the left by Glenn Kweh. The Cheetahs reclaimed their advantage early in the second half through substitute Sahil, who controlled Lionel Tan’s hopeful long ball before tucking it home. With Anders Aplin sent off midway through the second half for an altercation with Shah Shahiran, Clement Teo’s charges had to hold off a late Young Lions onslaught for a first win in four matches.
- Young Lions have lost all five games so far, with the last four being one-goal defeats; this is the first time they started the season with five defeats since a seven-match run in 2017.
- Young Lions have now conceded in their last 41 matches, while Hougang have not kept a clean sheet in their last 14.
- Sahil scored in three straight matches for the first time since May 2014 when he was with Young Lions; he is the first player to score as a substitute for three games in a row since Kuraba Kondo did for Albirex in April 2021.
- Stewart scored his first goal since December 2020 in Young Lions’s 4-2 win over Tanjong Pagar.
- Zulfahmi scored his first goal since July 2019 in Hougang’s 3-1 win over DPMM.
- Shahril made his first start for Hougang since March 2021 in a 3-1 defeat to Albirex; he equalled his 2021 tally of one start.
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Anders Aplin, Lionel Tan, Nazhiim Harman (Muhaimin Suhaimi 78’), Farhan Zulkifli (Sahil Suhaimi 22’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Zulfahmi Arifin, Kristijan Krajček, Shahfiq Ghani (Pedro Bortoluzo 46’), Nazrul Nazari, Shahril Ishak (C) (Amir Zalani 78’).
Unused subs: Mukundan Maran (GK), Aizil Yazid (GK), Faiz Salleh, Amy Recha, André Moritz.
Young Lions: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Syabil Hisham (Arshad Shamim 84’), Jacob Mahler (C), Jordan Emaviwe, Ryhan Stewart, Joel Chew (Zikos Chua 73’), Shah Shahiran, Syahrul Sazali (Danish Qayyum 84’), Amir Syafiz (Jared Gallagher 58’), Glenn Kweh, Khairin Nadim.
Unused subs: Umar Sujuandy (GK), Raoul Suhaimi, Abdul Rasaq Akeem, Zamani Zamri, Fairuz Fazli.
Red Card: Anders Aplin 67’ (Hougang)
Tigers on the rise
Geylang 0-1 Balestier | Toa Payoh | 10 April
Shuhei Hoshino 61′
Balestier’s renaissance continued and they had Hoshino to thank for it, with the Japanese striding on to compatriot Ryoya Taniguchi’s pass before firing past Zaiful Nizam for the match-winner in the second half. Goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah also played a crucial part with two big saves as the Tigers rose to fourth in the table.
- Balestier won two straight games for the first time since April 2021 and kept their first clean sheet in 10 matches since September 2021.
- Balestier ended a run of 14 away games without a win – their last win on the road before this was a 2-1 win away at Hougang United back in December 2020.
- Geylang have now gone five matches without a win for the first time since a six-match run in April 2021.
- Taniguchi made his fifth assist of the season, with four of those for Hoshino; he is now ranked joint-top for assists along with Tampines’s Kyoga Nakamura.
- Balestier’s Rudy Khairullah kept his first clean sheet since the 2019 Community Shield – it was his first SPL shutout since July 2018 in Home United’s 2-0 win over Young Lions.
- Geylang’s Kieran Teo made his professional debut.
Geylang: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Fadli Kamis (Ilhan Noor 63’), Abdil Qaiyyim (Kieran Teo 63’), Rio Sakuma, Ahmad Syahir (Yeo Hai Ngee 90’), Huzaifah Aziz (Fareez Farhan 68’), Takahiro Tezuka, Hazzuwan Halim, Vincent Bezecourt, Khairul Hairie (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 46’), Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Qayyum Raishyan, Azri Suhaili, Furqan Raoff.
Balestier: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Darren Teh (C), Ensar Brunčević, Delwinder Singh, Aidil Johari, Ammirul Emmran, Ho Wai Loon, Gareth Low (Naufal Azman 62’), Ryoya Taniguchi, Kuraba Kondo (Ignatius Ang 90’+1), Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Riki Kimura (GK), Keshav Kumar, Aarish Kumar, Asshukrie Wahid, Puvan Raj, Akmal Azman, Aqil Yazid.