Singapore Cup • November 28, 2015
Aw: Red Card Made It Tough
Written by: Nigel Chin
Philippe Aw believes Fazli Ayob’s sending off cost his side a chance at lifting their seventh Singapore Cup trophy following Home United’s 1-2 defeat to Albirex Niigata (S) in the RHB Singapore Cup final.
Fazli was given his marching orders in the 25th minute after kicking out at Albirex’s Shun Inaba, and that left the Protectors having to play more than two-thirds of the game with just ten men.
Aw did not mask his disappointment and was unequivocal in pointing out Fazli’s mistake.
“When we had the man sent off, it totally changed the game,” Aw said.
“We came here to play our brand of football, but with that man sent off we couldn’t display it even though we did manage to do it in certain parts of the game. We outplayed Albirex even though we had one man down and I’m very proud of the ten players.
“It was tough out there. With 11 it was already tough, furthermore with ten.
“It’s disappointing that because of one player we had to totally change our game plan. I hope the player realises his mistake has caused the team the chance to win the Cup.”
Aw however, could not fault the effort and commitment of the rest of the team. In fact, despite playing with a numerical disadvantage, it was the Protectors who managed to take the lead first through Abdil Qaiyyim.
“The boys were outstanding tonight… we even managed to take the lead,” Aw stated.
“Even though we were down 2-1, we still fought all the way, created chances to score, but it wasn’t easy at all.
“You know, sometimes with little time left, what teams will do is hoof the ball into the box and hope for something. Looking back at the whole season, because of how we played, we persisted with playing the ball around, so you can’t fault the players.”
Meanwhile, Albirex coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama shared that it was always his strategy to bring both Rion Taki and Kento Nagasaki off the bench as impact players.
Taki scored the equaliser within six minutes of coming on, before setting up Nagasaki for the winner, nine minutes after he was introduced into the game.
“Throughout the season, we have used different tactics,” Okuyama explained.
“Sometimes, it’s good for us to play certain players from the start, sometimes from the bench; it depends on the opponent. For this match, it was my strategy to use Taki and Nagasaki as a substitute.
“Because as a sub, they have more impact and luckily, it was proven right.”
Despite achieving the Cup double this year, Okuyama stopped short of setting the S.League as the target next season.
“The club will think about it next season,” Okuyama said. “However, we will continue to build a strong team for next season.”