Singapore Premier League • March 16, 2023
2023 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 4: Roundup
Faris Ramli celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side’s opening goal, 14 March 2023
SINGAPORE, 16 MARCH 2023 – Tampines Rovers continue to lead the pack after four Matchweeks as they overcame Balestier Khalsa, while champions Albirex Niigata (S) continued their 100% record as they dispatched Hougang United.
Elsewhere, Lion City Sailors swept aside Geylang International to stay in the hunt while Brunei DPMM defeated Tanjong Pagar United for their first win since returning to the Singapore Premier League. We recap all the action below…
DPMM off the mark
Brunei DPMM 2-1 Tanjong Pagar United | Jalan Besar Stadium | 14 March 2023
Andrey Voronkov 55’, Hanif Hamir 78′ | Hirzi Zulfaqar O.G. 28′
It had looked like DPMM was slipping to a third defeat of the season after Hirzi headed into his own net while trying to clear Shakir Hamzah’s cross, but they rallied in the second half with former Belarus international Voronkov bending home a gorgeous shot from the edge of the area to equalise. With an extra man’s advantage after Raihan Rahman’s sending off, Adrian Pennock’s men went on to seal the turnaround with Hanif nodding in Azwan Ali Rahman’s deep cross.
- DPMM came back from a one-goal deficit at half time to win for the first time since June 2018 when they beat Warriors FC 2-1.
- Tanjong Pagar have now lost five out of their last seven SPL matches since October 2022.
- Hanif scored his first-ever SPL goal.
DPMM: Akmal Tursunbaev (GK), Hirzi Zulfaqar (Hanif Hamir 69’), Wafi Aminuddin, Angel Martínez, Najib Tarif, Hendra Azam (Josip Balic 85’), Hanif Farhan (Razimie Ramlli 85’), Abdul Mu’iz Sisa, Azwan Ali Rahman (C), Andrei Varankov, Nazirrudin Ismail (Abdul Azizi Rahman 65’).
Unused subs: Haimie Nyaring (GK), Syafiq Hilmi.
Tanjong Pagar: Kenji Rusydi (GK), Raihan Rahman, Shakir Hamzah (C), Faizal Roslan, Naqiuddin Eunos (Tajeli Salamat 82’), Blake Ricciuto, Mirko Sugic, Fathullah Rahmat (Khairul Hairie 82’), Akram Azman, Syukri Bashir (Khairul Amri 67’), Marin Mudrazija.
Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Shahrin Saberin, Azim Akbar, Naufal Ilham, Zulfadhmi Suzliman.
Red Card: Raihan Rahman
Andrey Voronkov against Tanjong Pagar, 14 March 2023
Stags on a roll
Balestier Khalsa 1-3 Tampines Rovers | Bishan Stadium | 14 March 2023
Daniel Goh 49′ | Faris Ramli 29′, Boris Kopitovic 31′, 78′
Two quick-fire goals put Tampines into the ascendancy, with Faris continuing his red-hot form by arrowing a header off Irfan Najeeb’s cross into the bottom left corner before Kopitovic coolly finished off Joel Chew’s through pass. Goh pulled one back by tapping home Max McCoy’s ball into the area, but the Stags made sure of the three points late on with Faris teeing up Kopitovic for a thumping finish past Hairul Syirhan.
- Tampines are unbeaten in seven encounters against Balestier in all competitions since a 5-2 defeat in August 2021.
- Tampines are now unbeaten in their last 12 SPL matches stretching back to August 2022.
- Joel Chew is the first player this season to have assisted in consecutive games.
- Balestier have conceded in their last 20 games in all competitions since a 2-0 win over Young Lions in July 2022.
- Faris extended his scoring run to four straight SPL matches – his best-scoring form since netting in six consecutive games for Hougang back in September 2019.
- McCoy made an assist on his first professional start.
Balestier: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Darren Teh, Madhu Mohana, Emmeric Ong, Fudhil I’yadh (Syukri Noorhaizam 55’), Alen Kozar, Ryoya Taniguchi, Ho Wai Loon (C), Daniel Goh, Max McCoy (Ignatius Ang 80′), Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Mukundan Maran (GK), Suffian Abdullah (GK), Syabil Hisham, Fabian Kwok, Aidil Johari, Kian Jared Ghadessy, Irfan Mika’il.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Irfan Najeeb, Shuya Yamashita, Milos Zlatkovic, Glenn Kweh (Amirul Haikal 77′), Kyoga Nakamura, Shah Shahiran (Ong Yu En 65′), Joel Chew (Taufik Suparno 65′), Faris Ramli (Rezza Rezky 88′), Yasir Hanapi (C) (Syed Firdaus 88′), Boris Kopitovic.
Unused subs: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Danish Irfan, Ryaan Sanizal.
Boris Kopitovic against Balestier Khalsa, 14 March 2023
White Swans stay perfect
Albirex Niigata 2-0 Hougang United | Jurong East Stadium | 15 March 2023
Seia Kunori 45’+3, 90’+3
Who can stop Albirex? This after they notched up a third win in as many games, with leading forward Kunori scoring in added time in each half – firstly netting a rebound after Sho Fuka’s header was parried into his path by Zaiful Nizam, before coolly curling into the bottom right corner to finish off a lethal breakaway move to seal yet another three points.
- Albirex are now unbeaten in 14 home games at Jurong East in all competitions since losing 2-1 to Tanjong Pagar in July 2022.
- Albirex are the first team to keep a clean sheet in each of their first three matches of a SPL season since Tampines did so in 2020 – Hassan Sunny is also the first goalkeeper to start a campaign with three straight shutouts since Syazwan Buhari did so for the Stags back then.
- Hougang lost two consecutive matches in a season for the first time since October 2021.
- Hougang have now conceded in their last 18 SPL matches since July 2022.
- Kunori now has four goals in four appearances for Albirex, including the Community Shield.
- Fairoz Hasan made his first league appearance for Hougang since 17 November 2017 when he started in their 1-1 draw with Warriors.
Albirex: Hassan Sunny (GK), Ryo Takahashi, Koki Kawachi, Shunsaku Kishimoto, Sho Fuwa, Asahi Yokokawa (C), Kaisei Ogawa (Keito Hariya 75’), Shuto Komaki (Riku Fukashiro 73’), Nicky Melvin Singh (Shodai Yokoyama 46’), Tadanari Lee (Keito Komatsu 82′), Seia Kunori.
Unused subs: Yoshihiko Kobayashi (GK), Masaya Watanabe, Shakthi Vinayagavijayan, Junki Yoshimura, Kenji Austin.
Hougang: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Naoki Kuriyama, Kazuma Takayama, Irwan Shah, Zulfahmi Arifin (C), Ajay Robson (Umar Akhbar 73’), Amir Zalani (Fairoz Hasan 65’), Hazzuwan Halim, Brian Ferreira, Sahil Suhaimi (Gabriel Quak 79’).
Unused subs: Zainol Gulam (GK), Anders Aplin, Rauf Sanizal, Raimi Ishraq, Hariysh Krishnakumar, Iryan Fandi.
Seia Kunori celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal, 15 March 2023
Sailors back on winning track
Lion City Sailors 3-0 Geylang International | Bishan Stadium | 15 March 2023
Hafiz Nor 22′, Diego Lopes 45’+1, Abdul Rasaq 70′
The Sailors returned to winning ways, with Diego Lopes overcoming an early missed penalty as he went on to set up Hafiz to net the opening goal before popping up at the right place at the right time to finish off Christopher van Huizen’s low cross to put his side two up at the break. Super-sub Rasaq then made sure of the three points as he clinically finished off Maxime Lestienne’s pass, before Geylang had a late consolation ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee.
- The Sailors have won all three home games at Bishan this season.
- The Sailors kept their first clean sheet in 14 matches in all competitions.
- Geylang lost back-to-back league matches for the first time since June 2022.
- Both of Rasaq’s goals this season have come via substitute appearances.
- A fourth straight start meant Sailors’ Hami Syahin has now played more minutes than his entire 2022 campaign – he only started two games last season.
- Geylang’s Ridhwan Fikri is still waiting for his first career clean sheet after 41 starts.
Sailors: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Bill Mamadou (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 46’), Manuel Herrera Lopez, Lionel Tan, Christopher van Huizen, Hariss Harun (C) (Rusyaidi Salime 79’), Hami Syahin, Adam Swandi (Abdul Rasaq 68’), Hafiz Nor (Shawal Anuar 68’), Maxime Lestienne (Haiqal Pashia 79’), Diego Lopes.
Unused subs: Adib Nur Hakim (GK), Rudy Khairullah (GK), Arshad Shamim.
Geylang: Ridhwan Fikri (GK), Akmal Azman (Muhd Noor Ariff 76’), Joshua Pereira (C), Rio Sakuma, Amirul Adli, Huzaifah Aziz, Takahiro Tezuka, Vincent Bezecourt, Yushi Yamaya, Iqbal Hussain (Shahfiq Ghani 46’), Naufal Azman.
Unused subs: Aniq Yusoff (GK), Faisal Shahril, Gareth Low, Nazhiim Harman, Azri Suhalil, Muthukumaran Navaretthinam, Danish Haziq.
Abdul Rasaq against Geylang, 15 March 2023