Singapore Premier League • August 1, 2023
2023 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 23: Roundup
Albirex Niigata (S) players celebrating a goal against Tampines Rovers, 28 July 2023.
SINGAPORE, 1 AUGUST 2023 – Albirex Niigata (S) are now getting ever closer to retaining the AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) title after defeating Tampines Rovers as they went five points clear at the top with a game in hand. Lion City Sailors climbed to second after brushing aside Balestier Khalsa, while Geylang International kept up their hopes of a top-four finish by edging Brunei DPMM. Elsewhere, Hougang United thrashed hapless Young Lions for a third straight win.
White Swans closing in
Albirex 6-3 Tampines | Jurong East | 28 July
Seia Kunori 1’, 4’, Tadanari Lee 29’, Shunsaku Kishimoto 34’, Ryo Takahashi 83’, Keito Komatsu 84’ | Yasir Hanapi pen. 19’, Ryaan Sanizal 26’, Faris Ramli 69’
Bundling in Lee’s cross after just 10 seconds, Kunori then lashed a stunning volley into the top corner to put Albirex 2-0 up in four minutes. Tampines rallied as Yasir converted from the spot before Ryaan headed home Glenn Kweh’s cross to restore parity before the half-hour mark. However, Albirex kept going with Lee diverting in Asahi Yokokawa’s low cross before Kishimoto nodded in to go 4-2 up. Faris then pulled one back for Tampines after the break, but the White Swans went on to secure the win with substitutes Takahashi and Komatsu netting accurate finishes and go a step closer to the title.
- Kunori’s goal on 10 secs is the fastest goal in the SPL this season.
- Takahashi and Komatsu’s goals meant Albirex have 14 goals scored by substitutes this season – no club have more.
- Tampines are only the second team after the Sailors to score more than three goals against Albirex this season.
- Ryaan scored his first league goal since May 2021 in Tampines’ 5-1 win over Balestier – that was only his third-ever SPL goal.
Albirex: Hassan Sunny (GK), Keito Hariya (Sho Fuwa 46’), Shunsaku Kishimoto, Koki Kawachi, Asahi Yokokawa (C), Kaisei Ogawa, Shodai Yokoyama, Junki Yoshimura (Riku Fukashiro 46’), Shuto Komaki (Ryo Takahashi 66’), Seia Kunori (Masaya Watanabe 87’), Tadanari Lee (Keito Komatsu 75’).
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Zamani Zamri, Shakthi Vinayagavijayan, Hilman Norhisam.
Tampines: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Ryaan Sanizal, Shuya Yamashita, Shah Shahiran, Glenn Kweh (Adam Reefdy 85’), Saifullah Akbar (Miloš Zlatković 57’), Joel Chew (Rezza Rezky 85’), Kyoga Nakamura, Yasir Hanapi (C), Faris Ramli, Taufik Suparno.
Unused subs: Sunny Tia (GK), Boris Kopitović, Syed Firdaus Hassan, Taras Goh, Kegan Phang, Adam Reefdy.
Albirex Niigata (S)’s Shodai Yokoyama in action against Young Lions, 27 July 2023.
Eagles continue to soar
DPMM 1-2 Geylang | Jalan Besar | 28 July
Hakeme Yazid 84’ | Gareth Low 21’, Naufal Azman 48’
On a night in which they struck the woodwork three times, Geylang thoroughly deserved the win as Low popped in the box to nod in Yushi Yamaya’s cross before the latter got another assist after the break as he teed up Naufal for a thumping finish. DPMM then did pull one back late on as Hakeme curled home from outside the box, but that was not enough to stop them from slipping to defeat.
- Geylang have lost just once in their last seven matches.
- DPMM have kept just two clean sheets in 20 matches this season.
- This is already Low’s best-ever scoring season with two goals.
- Hakeme has now scored in three straight matches.
DPMM: Kristijan Naumovski (GK), Awangku Fakharrazi (Hendra Azam 74’), Helmi Zambin (Abdul Mu’iz Sisa 46’), Hanif Hamir, Ángel Martínez, Najib Tarif (C), Hanif Farhan, Farshad Noor, Razimie Ramlli (Nazirrudin Ismail 65’), Hakeme Yazid, Abdul Azizi Rahman (Eddy Shahrol Izzat 65’).
Unused subs: Haimie Nyaring (GK), Wardun Yussof (GK), Azwan Saleh, Hirzi Zulfaqar.
Geylang: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Fadli Kamis, Akmal Azman, Rio Sakuma, Amirul Adli, Gareth Low (Shahfiq Ghani 78’), Takahiro Tezuka, Joshua Pereira (C), Yushi Yamaya (Muhd Noor Ariff 90’+6), Iqbal Hussain, Naufal Azman (Arshad Shamim 65’).
Unused subs: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Faisal Shahril, Danish Irfan, Syafiq Sani, Ikhsanuddin Sharil, Syazwan Abdul Latiff.
Red Card – Amirul Adli (Geylang) 90’+3
Geylang International’s Rio Sakuma celebrating a goal against Tampines Rovers, 22 July 2023.
Cheetahs on a roll
Young Lions 2-6 Hougang | Jalan Besar | 29 July
Harhys Stewart 47’, Zikos Chua 90’+4 | Đorđe Maksimović 9’, 67’, Kristijan Krajček 42’, 90’+2, Gabriel Quak 52’, Kazuma Takayama 64’
There was no way back for Young Lions after Maksimović nodded in Naoki Kuriyama’s knock-on early on as Hougang then doubled their lead with Krajček volleying home from just inside the box. The home side did pull one back through Harhys’s tap-in, but the Cheetahs then restored their two-goal advantage as Quak applied the finishing touch to a great team move. Krajček then teed up Takayama and Maksimović for clinical finishes before going on to curl home his second of the night to make it 6-1. Chua then scored late to give the Young Lions a late consolation.
- Hougang have now won three matches in a row.
- Young Lions have now lost 12 straight matches and conceded in 84 straight SPL outings.
- Krajček scored twice and assisted twice in this game – he has now scored and assisted in three straight SPL games.
- Chua scored his first SPL goal since August 2022 when he scored four times in Young Lions’ 4-2 win over Tanjong Pagar.
- Chua’s goal meant Young Lions now have 14 different scorers – joint-most in the league along with Albirex.
- This is already Harhys’s best-ever scoring season with three goals.
Young Lions: Aizil Yazid (GK), Fairuz Fazli, Jun Kobayashi, Kieran Teo, Harith Kanadi (Danish Haqimi 90’+2), Iman Hakim (Zikos Chua 55’), Harhys Stewart (C), Jared Gallagher, Syafi’ie Redzuan (Elijah Lim 83’), Farhan Zulkifli, Amiruldin Asraf (Ryan Praveen 83’).
Unused subs: Wayne Chew (GK), Syahadat Masnawi, Ikram Mikhail, Loo Kai Sheng.
Hougang: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Anders Aplin, Naoki Kuriyama, Kazuma Takayama, Zulfahmi Arifin (C) (Amir Zalani 73’), Irwan Shah (Ajay Robson 80’), Louka Vaissierre-Tan (Gabriel Quak 46’), Kristijan Krajček, Amy Recha (Hazzuwan Halim 73’), Đorđe Maksimović (Sahil Suhaimi 80’).
Unused subs: Zainol Gulam (GK), Fairoz Hasan, Idraki Adnan, Iryan Fandi.
Hougang United’s Dorde Maksimovic in action against Balestier Khalsa, 21 July 2023.
Sailors go second
Sailors 5-2 Balestier | Bishan | 31 July
Richairo Živković 24’, Lionel Tan 36’, Bailey Wright 47’, 74′, Shawal Anuar 61’ | Ryoya Taniguchi pen. 27’, Shuhei Hoshino 60’
An early sending off for Balestier’s Madhu Mohana and one missed penalty from each side set the tone for an entertaining affair with Živković slotting home a tap-in to put the Sailors ahead, before Balestier drew level through another penalty – this time converted by Taniguchi. Tan then lashed in a piledriver from 35 yards out and Wright rose the highest to convert a header off Maxime Lestienne’s corner to make it 3-1, before Hoshino curled one in to halve the deficit. Shawal proceeded to finish off Christopher van Huizen’s cross, before Wright netted another header to secure the win for the Sailors.
- The Sailors have lost just once in 11 home matches this season.
- Lestienne picked up his 18th assist of the season – a league-leading statistic ahead of nearest rival and teammate Diego Lopes who has 11.
- Živković scored his first SPL goal from open play, while Wright scored his first-ever career brace.
- Wright’s goal also meant the Sailors now have 12 different scorers this season.
- Tan scored just his fifth-ever SPL goal – that was his first-ever from outside the box.
- Taniguchi is now on 21 goals – one goal ahead of Lestienne in the race for the Golden Boot.
Sailors: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Lionel Tan, Bailey Wright, Christopher van Huizen (Nur Adam Abdullah 87’), M. Anumanthan, Hariss Harun (C) (Hami Syahin 87’), Shawal Anuar (Haiqal Pashia 78’), Maxime Lestienne (Adam Swandi 87’), Richairo Živković, Abdul Rasaq Akeem (Diego Lopes 65’).
Unused subs: Adib Nur Hakim (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Bill Mamadou.
Balestier: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Fudhil I’yadh (Syukri Noorhaizam 67’), Madhu Mohana, Jordan Emaviwe, Darren Teh (Emmeric Ong 78’), Alen Kozar (Kian Jared Ghadessy 89’), Ho Wai Loon (C), Ryoya Taniguchi, Daniel Goh (Ignatius Ang 89’), Masahiro Sugita, Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Wayne Chew (GK), Syabil Hisham, Amer Hakeem, Aidil Johari, Irfan Mika’il.
Red Card – Madhu Mohana (Balestier) 9’
Lion City Sailors’ Hafiz Nor in action against Tanjong Pagar United, 20 July 2023.