News • August 13, 2017

RHB Singapore Cup 2017: White Swans Beat Stags To Seal Progress


Written by: Phoon Jia Hui

Albirex Niigata (S) ran out 2-0 winners over Tampines Rovers in the RHB Singapore Cup 2017 Quarter-Final second leg tie at Jurong East Stadium on Sunday night to seal a 7-1 victory on aggregate.

Naofumi Tanaka and Ryuya Motoda struck in the first half to help the White Swans to victory and book a place in the last four with either Brunei DPMM or Home United being their opponents.

Coming into this on the back of a heavy 5-1 defeat from the first leg, Tampines started on the offensive as they also named talismanic forward Khairul Amri in the starting line-up – marking the 32-year-old’s first start since May 25.

But it was the hosts who almost took the lead in the 12th minute when Ryota Nakai stabbed narrowly wide from inside the box.

At the other end five minutes later, Son Yong Chan saw his powerful shot spilled by Yosuke Nozawa as Shakir Hamzah put the ball back into the danger zone but Fazrul Nawaz failed to convert from six yards out.

The deadlock was however broken on the half-hour mark as Tanaka latched onto a pass from deep before looping a right-footed shot over a hapless Izwan Mahbud.

Fazrul could have levelled matters three minutes before the break but somehow stabbed straight at Nozawa after Ismadi Mukhtar’s effort was spilled by the Albirex custodian.

They were made to rue that miss as the hosts pulled further away on the strike of half-time with Nakai cutting the ball back for Motoda to curl an unerring finish into Izwan’s top corner.

The Stags could have reduced the deficit after the restart but Fazrul’s stooping header off Amri’s cross at the far post went wide in the 53rd minute.

Fazrul was in the thick of things again as he saw his speculative effort sail narrowly over in the 63rd minute before Motoda forced Izwan to push his fierce shot over for a corner at the other end moments later.

It was all-Tampines thereafter as they registered a number of shots on goal but none were able to beat Shuhei Yamada who replaced Nozawa at half-time.

Fazrul capitalised on a defensive error but was denied by Yamada at his near post on 65 minutes before Daniel Bennett’s volley was deflected behind for a corner six minutes later.

Bennett came close again in the 76th minute when his header off Shahdan’s corner delivery was kept out by Yamada with Ryutaro Megumi hitting the loose ball over the bar.

There were no further chances thereafter as the White Swans held on for victory and progressed at the expense of Tampines.

Albirex Niigata (S) Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga: “We held a good advantage from the first leg so we concentrated on finishing the job today. My job was to remind the players not to get any unnecessary yellow cards and we finished the match without any yellow cards and injuries.

“The opponents may think that we are lucky but the players worked hard to create that luck. They must work hard if not the good luck won’t come to us in the first place.

“Our next game is against Tampines in the S.League and it’s important we switch our minds to go out there and get the three points.”

Tampines Rovers Head Coach Jurgen Raab: “It was a good performance today, and it was very positive. We controlled the game for the full 90 minutes but we were ultimately punished for our defensive errors.

“I hope the players will avoid such mistakes going forward and we must finish the chances that we created – that’s what we need to learn. We have quality in our team with a number of national players and we are capable of beating Albirex but at the moment we just have no luck.”

Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK) (Shuhei Yamada 46’), Hiroyoshi Kamata, Yasutaka Yanagi, Takuya Akiyama, Naofumi Tanaka, Ryuya Motoda, Shuto Inaba (C), Rui Kumada (Yuuki Yamanouchi 73’), Kento Nagasaki, Ryota Nakai, Shoichiro Sakamoto (Koki Sato 90’)

Tampines Rovers: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar, Madhu Mohana, Daniel Bennett, Shakir Hamzah, Ryutaro Megumi, Son Yong Chan, Shahdan Sulaiman (C), Hafiz Sujad (Irwan Shah 78’), Fazrul Nawaz (Faizal Raffi 71’), Khairul Amri (Ivan Dzoni 67’)