News • October 26, 2016
Five-Star Tampines Triumph Over Albirex On Final Day
Written by: Sebastian Lim
Tampines Rovers saw off a second-string Albirex Niigata (S) side 5-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday night, in what was a dress rehearsal of the RHB Singapore Cup Final on Saturday.
The result meant second-placed Tampines finished the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season with 49 points, just one behind newly-crowned champions Albirex.
It was all-Tampines from the get go and it did not take long for them to put their noses in front with Billy Mehmet heading home off a Jordan Webb right-wing cross after just nine minutes.
Shahdan Sulaiman then came close minutes later with an effort from 25 yards which flew narrowly over the bar but two goals in four minutes would put the Stags firmly in the driving seat.
On 38th minute, Webb stole in unmarked before turning home a Hafiz cross with a looping header past Eita Kasagawa.
Diego Silvas – who was making his league debut – then made it three goals to the good for Tampines three minutes before the break, latching onto a pass from Webb before calmly rolling the ball past an onrushing Kasagawa.
Akbar Nawas’ charges showed no signs of relenting after the restart, adding a fourth on 64 minutes as Albirex defender Tomoki Menda was dismissed after he was adjudged to have handled in the box.
Up stepped Shahdan from the spot and the midfielder made no mistake, sending Kasagawa the wrong way to pile more misery on the White Swans.
Hafiz could have put his name on the scoresheet shortly after, but had his shot pushed away by a flying Kasagawa as Tampines struck for the final time in the 73rd minute.
After Kento Fujihara sent a clearance into the path of a lurking Silvas, the 19-year-old needed no invitation to slam the ball into the roof of the net to add to his tally.
Daichi Ishiyama then pulled one back for the designated hosts with a low shot which crept into Izwan Mahbud’s near post but it proved to be a case of too little, too late as Tampines signed off the season in style.
Albirex Niigata (S) coach Naoki Naruo: “As you saw from tonight’s game, it’s tough to win the S.League title so I’m happy to [be able to] win it this season.
“I was expecting this game to be difficult so I was not really surprised by the result. The speed of the individual [Tampines] players was different and our defence was not solid which was the reason why they could put so many past us today.”
Tampines Rovers coach Akbar Nawas: “I must give credit to our players. They played professionally in last two or three games despite the off-pitch issues. If we had played this way from the start, we could have been champions. Whether it’s going to be or not, we never know.
“As a coach, I personally congratulate Albirex for winning the title. They lasted the distance and showed the rest how it was supposed to be done. However, today’s result is by no means an indication of how Saturday’s Cup Final would pan out.”
Albirex Niigata (S): Eita Kasagawa (GK), Mikiya Yamada (Hiroyoshi Kamata76’), Kento Fujihara (C), Tomoki Menda, Masaya Jitozono, Kazuki Mine, Kento Nagasaki (Shuto Inaba 70’), Tatsuro Inui, Daichi Ishiyama, Tadaaki Yazawa, Rui Kumada (Naofumi Tanaka 46’)
Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK, C), Ismadi Mukhtar, Jufri Taha, Yasir Hanapi (Shakir Hamzah 80’), Shahdan Sulaiman (Izzdin Shafiq 76’), Jordan Webb, Fabian Kwok, Hafiz Abu Sujad, Irwan Shah, Billy Mehmet (Afiq Yunos 70’), Diego Silvas