Singapore Premier League • August 29, 2014

Okuyama: Boys Showed Spirit


Written By: Kenneth Ho

Albirex Niigata coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama was tremendously pleased with his side after they seemingly pulled off the impossible by overturning a three-goal deficit to triumph over Geylang International 4-3 on Thursday evening.

However, the Albirex coach was unwilling to discuss about his side’s title hopes, despite there only being five games left, with the club on 38 points, five behind league leaders Brunei DPMM, albeit with a game played more.

Heaping praise on the players, Okuyama said that he was never in doubt his side were going to win the game after they pulled level with Geylang in the 69th minute of the game through Keisuke Ota.

“The boys showed character in bouncing back from three goals down to win the game so i am happy with the spirit of the team,” Okuyama added.

“Second half we sorted out the defense to make sure we were able to guard our goal. When we are defensively sound, we are able to attack and make sure we could come back.”

“We could have scored a winner earlier because we were controlling the game and had some good chances, so I am not surprised by the winner.”

Geylang coach Jorg Steinebrunner was visibly displeased with how his side threw away the huge lead they had, as he apologised to the media as he felt that it was inappropriate for him to comment after such a huge disappointment.

Instead, Steinebrunner delegated his assistant coach Nazareno Velez to speak on his behalf, and even he too was at a loss to explain what had just happened.

“We are disappointed because first half we controlled the game, got the three goals and then the second half.. today the condition was bad and we lost energy there,” was all he could muster.

Admitting complacency may have been a factor in the defeat, Velez now insisted that the coaching staffs have to bring up the morale in the team and get them ready to play.

“We thought we had won the game, and the second half they never drop back a lot,” Velez said.

“From here, we need to bring them for the next five games. We need to let them know we need play like we did in the last two games [ when we won two consecutive games].”