Singapore Premier League • June 5, 2023

2023 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 14: Roundup


Lion City Sailors players celebrate a goal against Balestier Khalsa, 18 March 2023.


SINGAPORE, 4 JUNE 2023 – There were just two fixtures played in this matchweek, but there were plenty of excitement with Lion City Sailors edging Balestier Khalsa in a nine-goal thriller to close the gap between them and frontrunners Tampines Rovers to just three points, while Hougang United swept aside Young Lions to climb two places to sixth. We recap all the action below…


Sailors survive Tigers scare

Balestier 4-5 Sailors | Bishan | 1 June  

Fabian Kwok 21’, Ryoya Taniguchi 67’, pen. 87’, Shuhei Hoshino 82’ | Shawal Anuar 19’, 55’, Maxime Lestienne 38’, 76’, Diego Lopes 40’


After Kwok’s header off Darren Teh’s free-kick cancelled out a magnificent 40-yard lob by Shawal, the Sailors began to cruise with Lopes and Lestienne teeing each other up for quick-fire goals before Shawal added an emphatic second to put them 4-1 up. After Taniguchi pulled one back for Balestier, Lestienne then finished off a counter-attacking move to put the Sailors 5-2 up. However, the Tiger rallied – with Hoshino scoring from close-range and Taniguchi netting another from the spot before eventually faltering by the odd goal.


  • The Sailors have won all six games (five as the designated home team and one as the away side) at Bishan Stadium this season.
  • Ever since conceding four goals for the first time in the SPL in a 9-4 win over Hougang in August 2022, the Sailors have done so on another five occasions since – including this.
  • Two goals and two assists meant Lestienne is now up to 12 goals and 13 assists for the season – both league-leading tallies.
  • Lestienne has a goal involvement (either a goal or an assist) in 11 out of his 12 appearances in 2023 – the 4-0 defeat to Albirex in March is the only game which he drew a blank.
  • 12 goals in 2023 meant this is already Taniguchi’s career-best tally and he is now level with Lestienne at the top of the scoring charts.
  • Two assists meant Lopes has already equalled his 2022 tally of 10 league assists – he is the league’s second-highest assister (no one apart from Lestienne and Lopes has more than four).
  • Lopes scored in three straight SPL games for the first time.
  • Hoshino struck his 50th goal in all domestic Singapore competitions.

Balestier: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Fudhil I’yadh (Iqram Rifqi 76’), Madhu Mohana, Fabian Kwok, Darren Teh, Alen Kozar (Ignatius Ang 80’), Ryoya Taniguchi, Ho Wai Loon (C), Daniel Goh, Masahiro Sugita, Shuhei Hoshino.

Unused subs: Suffian Abdullah (GK), Syabil Hisham, Emmeric Ong, Gary Sahoo, Irfan Mika’il.

Sailors: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Hafiz Nor (Manuel Herrera López 80’), Hariss Harun (C) (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 80’), M. Anumanthan, Nur Adam Abdullah (Christopher van Huizen 62’), Adam Swandi, Hami Syahin (Lionel Tan 90’+4), Shawal Anuar, Maxime Lestienne, Diego Lopes, Abdul Rasaq Akeem (Bernie Ibini-Isei 80’).

Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Arshad Shamim, Haiqal Pashia.


Lion City Sailor’s Diego Lopes in action against Geylang United, 7 May 2023.


Cheetahs on a roll

Hougang 3-0 Young Lions | Jalan Besar | 3 June

Sahil Suhaimi 7’, Nazrul Nazari 12’, Gabriel Quak 45’+3


Sahil’s rocket from the edge of the box set Hougang on the way and they swiftly doubled the lead with Nazrul’s close-range shot getting a deflection before deceiving Aizil Yazid in the Young Lions goal. Quak then went on a sensational solo run to net the Cheetahs’ third to seal an easy victory.


  • Hougang have won three straight SPL games for the first time since May 2021.
  • Hougang kept their first clean sheet in 27 SPL matches – their last shutout prior to this was also against Young Lions in a 4-0 win back in July 2022.
  • Young Lions have now conceded in each of their last 75 SPL matches since September 2019.
  • Nazrul scored just his 11th SPL goal.
  • Quak’s last six SPL goals have come via substitute appearances.
  • Quak scored in three straight SPL games for the first time since a four-match run between May to June 2019 – during which he netted a total of five goals for Warriors FC.

Hougang: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Anders Aplin, Naoki Kuriyama, Kazuma Takayama, Jordan Vestering, Kristijan Krajček, Irwan Shah, Nazrul Nazari (C) (Gabriel Quak 33’), Hazzuwan Halim (Ajay Robson 84’), Sahil Suhaimi (Fairoz Hasan 88’), Amy Recha (Amir Zalani 46’).

Unused subs: Zainol Gulam (GK), Keith Chung (GK), Umar Akhbar, Idraki Adnan, Iryan Fandi.

Young Lions: Aizil Yazid (GK), Aqil Yazid, Jun Kobayashi (C), Kieran Teo (Harith Kanadi 46’), Raoul Suhaimi, Ryu Hardy (Ryan Praveen 89’), Jared Gallagher, Elijah Lim (Syahadat Masnawi 46’), Ilhan Noor (Syafi’ie Redzuan 75’), Kan Kobayashi, Fairuz Fazli (Andrew Aw 62’).

Unused subs: Rauf Erwan (GK), Umayr Sujuandy (GK).


Hougang United’s Sahil Suhaimi in action against Tanjong Pagar United, 28 May 2023.