Singapore Premier League • October 25, 2014

Okuyama Remains Optimistic In Winning Title


Written by: Muhammad Yazid

Albirex Niigata (S) managed a narrow 2-1 victory over Home United in a Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League match on Friday evening to keep them in the title race, although the title is not completely in their hands.

Kento Nagasaki and Kazuki Sakamoto scored a goal each and they were enough to win the game, despite Lee Kwan Woo’s equaliser in the first half.

The White Swans have two more games before the season comes to an end, and anything less than six points collected would mean that they would be automatically out of the title race.

However, they also need to hope that fellow title-chasers Brunei DPMM lose points in their three remaining games.

Despite their fates not being in their hands, Albirex coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama refused to give up on the league’s title.

“We still have two more games to play. We need to display the correct spirit together with effective tactics to win the title.”

“Today we played against a strong team. My players did a good job and played their hearts out to win this game.

“We had confidence to create chances. We could not convert them in our previous games and in this game, we created aplenty.

“We just tried to score the first goal early in the game and we did.”

Leading a 2-1 scoreline at half-time, the Japanese revealed that he wanted his players to penetrate more and kill the game off.

“I did not intend to play defensively in the second half,” he expressed.

“We had lesser players in midfield during the first half, which was why I shifted more players to midfield, causing our whole team to look defensive-minded.”

“Although we were defending most of the times, we were able to counter-attack well, which won us the game tonight.”

On the other hand, although Home were already out of the title race, coach Lee Lim Saeng approached the Albirex game with the intentions of boosting his players’ morale for the RHB Singapore Cup Final game against Balestier Khalsa two weeks from now.

However, things went wrong and he was evidently disappointed after the final whistle.

“As a coach, I want to take full responsibility of the result,” Lee admitted.

“We conceded early, that is why it is difficult to play. We have a problem in defence and we punished ourselves.

“Frankly speaking we did not play well tonight.

“Although we lost against Warriors, we showed our strengths in that game. But we just could not score and get back.

“But for today, I am totally not happy to see the overall performance.“

The South Korean also admitted that the loss puts him and the team in a difficult situation.

“We have lost three games in a row and it is very hard for me because every match is important for us,” he explained.

“We are poor in the league and have not been doing well. I am disappointed myself but I do not blame my players.

“We have a good chance in the Singapore cup and hopefully we achieve it.”