Singapore Premier League • March 20, 2023
2023 Singapore Premier League Matchweek 5: Roundup
Shah Shahiran and Syazwan Buhari celebrate after their side’s victory over Albirex, 19 March 2023
SINGAPORE, 20 MARCH 2023 – Tampines Rovers continue to lead the pack in the Singapore Premier League, going into the international break as they overcame Albirex Niigata (S) in a big clash between two title contenders, while Lion City Sailors climbed to second after easily dispatching Balestier Khalsa.
Geylang International moved up to third as they defeated struggling Brunei DPMM while Young Lions shocked Hougang United to earn their first win of the season. We recap all the action below…
Young Lions grab first win
Young Lions 2-1 Hougang United | Jalan Besar Stadium | 18 March 2023
Jared Gallagher 81′, Harhys Stewart 83′ | Hazzuwan Halim 44′
Hougang took the lead through Hazzuwan’s stooping header off Gabriel Quak’s delightful cross, but Young Lions came roaring back with two quick-fire goals late in the second half – with Gallagher lashing home a daisy-cutter from the edge of the box to equalise before Stewart benefitted from Jordan Emaviwe’s knock-on to fire past Zaiful Nizam to cap off an amazing turnaround.
- Young Lions’ victory meant every team have won at least one SPL match this season.
- Young Lions overcame a half-time deficit to win for the first time since June 2012 in a 2-1 victory over Woodlands Wellington – the last time they won after conceding first prior to this was back in August 2018 in a 2-1 victory over Tampines.
- Young Lions picked up their first win in 19 matches in all competitions since a 4-2 victory over Tanjong Pagar in August 2022.
- Young Lions have now conceded in their last 68 SPL matches since September 2019.
- Jared scored his first-ever professional goal.
- Harhys also scored in Young Lions’ last victory over Hougang – a 3-1 away win back in October 2021.
- Young Lions’ Jacob Mahler made his first appearance since April 2022 in a 3-2 defeat to Tampines.
- Hougang lost three consecutive matches in a season for the first time since November 2020.
Young Lions: Aizil Yazid (GK), Jun Kobayashi, Kieran Teo (Harith Kanadi 62’), Adam Reefdy (Jacob Mahler 46’), Ilhan Noor (Andrew Aw 46’), Jared Gallagher, Kan Kobayashi, Harhys Stewart (C), Amir Syafiz (Elijah Lim 87’), Jordan Emaviwe, Syahadat Masnawi (Fairuz Fazli 67’).
Unused subs: Wayne Chew (GK), Danial Crichton, Ryan Praveen, Aqil Yazid.
Hougang: Zaiful Nizam (GK), Nazrul Nazari, Naoki Kuriyama, Kazuma Takayama, Irwan Shah, Zulfahmi Arifin (C), Ajay Robson (Anders Aplin 78’), Gabriel Quak (Fairoz Hasan 78’), Hazzuwan Halim, Brian Ferreira (Amir Zalani 78′), Sahil Suhaimi.
Unused subs: Zainol Gulam (GK), Umar Akhbar, Rauf Sanizal, Raimi Ishraq, Hariysh Krishnakumar, Iryan Fandi.
Young Lions players celebrate after defeating Hougang 2-1, 18 March 2023
Sailors with another three-goal victory
Lion City Sailors 3-0 Balestier Khalsa | Bishan Stadium | 18 March 2023
Maxime Lestienne 19′, 90’+1 pen, Abdul Rasaq 48′
There was no looking back for the Sailors after Lestienne’s volley off Christopher van Huizen’s cross bounced off the turf before flying into the net under fortuitous circumstances. The irresistible Belgian then laid it on a plate for Rasaq to tap home, before dispatching a penalty late on to cap off a virtuoso individual display.
- Sailors have won all four matches at Bishan Stadium, scoring three on each occasion.
- This is the Sailors’ best-ever start to a campaign after five matches, with 12 points – their previous best was 2022 with 10 points from five.
- Sailors kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since May 2022.
- Rasaq has scored in three straight home matches for the Sailors – he is now just one goal off his 2022 career-best league tally of four goals.
- Sailors’ Zulqarnaen Suzliman started a league game for the first time since July 2022 and played the full 90 minutes for the first time since March 2022.
- Balestier have conceded in their last 21 matches in all competitions since July 2022.
Sailors: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Zulqarnaen Suzliman, Manuel Herrera Lopez (Adam Swandi 60′), Lionel Tan, Christopher van Huizen, Hariss Harun (C), Hami Syahin (Rusyaidi Salime 81’), Hafiz Nor (Shawal Anuar 67′), Maxime Lestienne, Diego Lopes (Jonan Tan 81′), Abdul Rasaq.
Unused subs: Adib Nur Hakim (GK), Rudy Khairullah (GK), Arshad Shamim, Haiqal Pashia, Bill Mamadou.
Balestier: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Darren Teh, Madhu Mohana, Emmeric Ong, Fudhil I’yadh (Iqram Rifqi 58′), Alen Kozar, Ryoya Taniguchi, Ho Wai Loon (C), Daniel Goh, Max McCoy (Syukri Noorhaizam 90’), Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Mukundan Maran (GK), Syabil Hisham, Fabian Kwok, Aidil Johari, Ignatius Ang, Kian Jared Ghadessy, Irfan Mika’il.
Abdul Rasaq celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal, 18 March 2023
Eagles fly again
Brunei DPMM 1-3 Geylang International | Jalan Besar Stadium | 19 March 2023
Abdul Azizi 61′ | Naufal Azman 5′, Yushi Yamaya 55′ pen, 65′
Naufal put Geylang ahead early on as he latched onto Vincent Bezecourt’s through pass before finishing calmly beyond Akmal Tursunbaev, before Yamaya doubled the lead from the spot. Azizi pulled one back for DPMM as he checked in Joshua Pereira before lashing home a sizzling shot from the edge of the area, but there was no denying the Eagles the victory as Yamaya got ahead of Tursunbaev to scramble in his second of the night.
- This is DPMM’s worst start to a season since 2017 when they also collected just three points from their opening four matches.
- This is Geylang’s first win in eight league encounters against DPMM – the last one before this came in October 2017 in a 4-1 victory.
- Naufal has now equalled his previous career-best tally of two goals from the 2018 season with Young Lions.
- Geylang’s Faisal Shahril and Muthukumaran Navaretthinam made their professional debuts.
DPMM: Akmal Tursunbaev (GK), Hirzi Zulfaqar (Syafiq Hilmi 73′), Wafi Aminuddin (Hanif Hamir 52’), Angel Martinez, Najib Tarif, Hendra Azam (Hanif Farhan 52′), Josip Balic, Abdul Mu’iz Sisa (Razimie Ramlli 62’), Azwan Ali Rahman (C), Andrei Varankov, Nazirrudin Ismail (Abdul Azizi Rahman 52’).
Unused subs: Haimie Nyaring (GK).
Geylang: Hafiz Ahmad (GK), Faisal Shahril (Nazhiim Harman 88′), Akmal Azman (Gareth Low 75′), Joshua Pereira (C), Rio Sakuma, Amirul Adli, Huzaifah Aziz (Muhd Noor Ariff 88’), Takahiro Tezuka, Vincent Bezecourt, Yushi Yamaya (Shahfiq Ghani 88′), Naufal Azman (Muthukumaran Navaretthinam 90’+3).
Unused subs: Aniq Yusoff (GK), Iqbal Hussain, Azri Suhalil, Danish Haziq.
Vincent Bezecourt against DPMM, 19 March 2023
Stags proving title credentials
Albirex Niigata 0-1 Tampines Rovers | Jurong East Stadium | 19 March 2023
Boris Kopitovic 13′
The game was decided by an early goal with the in-form Faris Ramli hanging a brilliant cross to the back post for Kopitovic to nod a firm header past Hassan Sunny. Albirex did try their best to come back into the game, but Tampines’ superb game management meant they saw the game out to clinch a statement win.
- Tampines are now unbeaten in their last 13 SPL matches stretching back to August 2022 – they are now the only undefeated team in the 2023 season.
- Albirex’s last defeat before this in the league also came against Tampines in a 5-3 loss back in October 2022.
- Albirex failed to score for the first time in 38 games in all competitions – the last time they drew a blank was in a 2-0 loss to Tanjong Pagar back in February 2022.
- Kopitovic has 12 goals in 10 appearances against Albirex since coming to the SPL in 2020.
- Hassan let in a goal for the first time this season after 373 minutes of football.
Albirex: Hassan Sunny (GK), Ryo Takahashi, Koki Kawachi, Shunsaku Kishimoto, Sho Fuwa (Keito Komatsu 78′), Asahi Yokokawa (C), Keito Hariya (Shuto Komaki 46’), Nicky Melvin Singh (Riku Fukashiro 46′), Shodai Yokoyama (Masaya Watanabe 78’), Tadanari Lee, Seia Kunori.
Unused subs: Yoshihiko Kobayashi (GK), Hilman Norhisham, Shakthi Vinayagavijayan, Junki Yoshimura, Kenji Austin.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Irfan Najeeb, Shuya Yamashita, Milos Zlatkovic, Glenn Kweh (Amirul Haikal 76′), Kyoga Nakamura, Shah Shahiran, Ong Yu En (Taufik Suparno 60′), Faris Ramli (Joel Chew 76′), Yasir Hanapi (C) (Saifullah Akbar 84′), Boris Kopitovic.
Unused subs: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Syed Firdaus, Rezza Rezky, Firdaus Kasman, Ryaan Sanizal.
Boris Kopitovic celebrates with his teammates after his side’s victory over Albirex, 19 March 2023