Singapore Premier League • May 15, 2023

2023 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 11: Roundup


Hougang players celebrating their win against Geylang International, 12 May 2023


SINGAPORE, 15 MAY 2023 – The AIA Singapore Premier League continues to deliver as Lion City Sailors’ title hopes take a dent after being held by Brunei DPMM while Tampines Rovers took full advantage as they eased past Tanjong Pagar United to go second and a point within leaders Albirex Niigata (S). Elsewhere, Hougang United edged Geylang International to end an eight-game winless streak and climb off the bottom spot. We recap all the action below…



Cheetahs prowl again

Hougang 3-2 Geylang | Jalan Besar | 12 May

Jordan Vestering 1’, Gabriel Quak pen. 81’, Kristijan Krajček 90’+3 | Naufal Azman 45’+2, 87’



It was a real thriller after Vestering thrashed home from the edge of the box just half a minute after kick-off to put Hougang ahead. Naufal nodded home Rio Sakuma’s flick-on to pull Geylang level on the stroke of half time, but the Cheetahs retook the lead through Quak’s successful penalty conversion. Naufal was on the spot to net another header to equalise, but there was no denying Marko Kraljević’s side the win as Krajček latched onto Quak’s neat pass to score an injury-time winner.



  • Hougang won for the first time since the opening week of the season.
  • Vestering’s goal on 28 seconds is the fastest goal in the SPL this season – that was also his first goal since March 2020 and just his third-ever professional goal.
  • Quak scored his first goal for Hougang – also his first league goal since October 2022.
  • Quak scored and assisted in the same game for the first time since doing so in Sailors’ 10-1 victory over Young Lions in August 2022.
  • Naufal netted his first-ever career brace – his tally of four goals also meant he surpassed his previous career-best of two in 2018 with Young Lions.


Hougang: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Anders Aplin, Kazuma Takayama, Jordan Vestering (Amir Zalani 73’), Zulfahmi Arifin (C), Irwan Shah, Kristijan Krajček, Sahil Suhaimi (Gabriel Quak 68’), Amy Recha (Fairoz Hasan 82’), Hazzuwan Halim.
Unused subs: Zainol Gulam (GK), Isaac Jonathan (GK), Umar Akhbar, Raimi Ishraq, Hariysh Krishnakumar, Iryan Fandi.
Geylang: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Fadli Kamis (Delwinder Singh 84’), Rio Sakuma (C), Amirul Adli, Ahmad Syahir, Huzaifah Aziz (Naufal Azman 9’), Takahiro Tezuka, Vincent Bezecourt, Yushi Yamaya, Azri Suhaili (Gareth Low 57’), Iqbal Hussain.
Unused subs: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Faisal Shahril, Nazhiim Harman, Syady Sufwan, Josh Tan, Syafiq Sani.
Red Card – Hazzuwan Halim 84’ (Hougang)


Zulfahmi Arifin challengiing for the ball against Geylang International, 12 May 2023


Inconsistent Sailors drop points again

DPMM 3-3 Sailors | Jalan Besar | 13 May

Andrey Voronkov 4’, 30’, 89’ | Diego Lopes 15’, Maxime Lestienne 19’, 45’



In a topsy-turvy clash, Varankou nodded home Hakeme Yazid’s corner to put DPMM ahead before the Sailors turned it around through quick-fire goals from Lopes and Lestienne. Varankou then bounced on a rebound after Abdul Azizi Rahman’s volley was parried to pull the Bruneians level, before the irresistible Lestienne benefitted from a quickly-taken Lopes free-kick to put the Sailors back in front just before the break. However, DPMM stole a share of the spoils late on with Varankou popping up in the area to complete a memorable hat-trick.


  • Sailors have won just two out of their six away games this season.
  • Varankou scored his first SPL hat-trick since September 2019 in DPMM’s 3-0 win over Warriors FC.
  • Lestienne scored his fourth brace of the season – he now has 10 goals and nine assists in 10 matches in 2023.
  • Lestienne is now level on 10 goals with Balestier Khalsa’s Ryoya Taniguchi at the top of the scoring charts.
  • Lopes scored and assisted in the same game for a third time this season – he only did so twice in 2022.
  • Lopes is now up to eight assists in 2023 – one behind league-leading teammate Lestienne.


DPMM: Akmal Tursunbaev (GK), Helmi Zambin (Awangku Fakharrazi 70’), Yura Indera Putera, Ángel Martínez, Najib Tarif (Abdul Mu’iz Sisa 70’), Hanif Farhan, Josip Balić, Abdul Azizi Rahman (Razimie Ramlli 64’), Azwan Ali Rahman (C), Andrei Varankov, Hakeme Yazid.
Unused subs: Haimie Nyaring (GK), Azwan Saleh, Syafiq Hilmi, Eddy Shahrol Izzat.
Sailors: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Hafiz Nor (C), Lionel Tan, M. Anumanthan, Nur Adam Abdullah, Adam Swandi, Hami Syahin, Shawal Anuar, Maxime Lestienne, Diego Lopes, Bernie Ibini-Isei (Abdul Rasaq Akeem 74’).
Unused subs: Adib Nur Hakim (GK), Danish Qayyum, Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Arshad Shamim, Christopher van Huizen, Haiqal Pashia, Bill Mamadou, Nathan Mao.


Andrey Voronkov in action against Lion City Sailors, 13 May 2023


Stags rediscover groove

Tampines 3-0 Tanjong Pagar | Our Tampines Hub | 14 May

Boris Kopitović 24’, Kyoga Nakamura 78’, Kegan Phang 90’+4



There was no way back after Kopitović pounced on a napping Tanjong Pagar backline to fire in an opportunistic volley. Nakamura then capitalised on a poor Kenji Rusydi clearance to double the Stags’ lead, before debutant Phang slammed home a rebound to seal an easy victory.


  • Tanjong Pagar lost four straight games for the first time since a five-game losing run between July to August 2022.
  • Kopitović has netted in each of his last five appearances against Tanjong Pagar, tallying a total of six goals.
  • Phang netted just two minutes into his professional debut – at 17 years 3 months and 21 days, he is the youngest player to score this season and the ninth-youngest debutant to score in league history.
  • Tanjong Pagar’s Zulfadhmi Suzliman made his first SPL start since December 2020 in Balestier’s 2-1 win over Hougang.
  • Tanjong Pagar’s Zahil Abdul Rahman made his professional debut.
  • Tampines kept their fifth clean sheet of the season, surpassing their entire 2022 tally of four.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Irfan Najeeb (Kegan Phang 90’+2), Shuya Yamashita, Miloš Zlatković, Glenn Kweh, Kyoga Nakamura, Shah Shahiran, Joel Chew (Taufik Suparno 64’), Faris Ramli (Saifullah Akbar 75’, Yasir Hanapi (C), Boris Kopitović (Ong Yu En 90’+2).
Unused subs: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Syed Firdaus Hassan, Rezza Rezky, Firdaus Kasman, Taras Goh.
Tanjong Pagar: Kenji Rusydi (GK), Raihan Rahman, Shakir Hamzah (C), Faizal Roslan, Tajeli Salamat, Zulfadhmi Suzliman (Zahil Abdul Rahman 90’+1), Blake Ricciuto, Mirko Šugić, Naufal Ilham (Naqiuddin Eunos 46’), Syukri Bashir (Azim Akbar 82’), Marin Mudražija (Khairul Amri 82’)
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Shahrin Saberin, Khairul Hairie, Akram Azman.
Red Card – Shakir Hamzah 89’ (Tanjong Pagar)


Kyoga Nakamura celebrating Tampines Rover’s 2nd goal, 14 May 2023


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