News Singapore Premier League • November 9, 2020

Singapore Premier League Week 9: Roundup


Stipe Plazibat hit his second hat-trick of the season

SINGAPORE, 10 NOVEMBER 2020 – The AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) title race took another twist the past weekend as leaders Tampines Rovers were held to a draw by eastern rivals Geylang International. The chasing pack of Albirex Niigata (S) and Lion City Sailors took full advantage with emphatic victories over Hougang United and Balestier Khalsa respectively to narrow the gap at the top. We recap the weekend’s action below…


No stopping Plazibat as Sailors assert title credentials
Balestier 1-7 Sailors | Bishan | 7 Nov
Kristijan Krajček 64’ | Stipe Plazibat 10’, 28’, 31’, Song Uiyoung 18’, Saifullah Akbar 34’, Tajeli Salamat 56’, Adam Swandi 65’

In what was expected to be a tight affair, the Sailors blew Balestier away with a first-half blitz. Having opened the scoring with a header off Shahdan Sulaiman’s free-kick, Plazibat then cleverly teed up Song to slam in from a tight angle. The Croatian hot-shot then finished off Gabriel Quak’s reverse pass and completed his hat-trick with a second header off another Shahdan set-piece, before squaring across goal for Saifullah to sweep home. Right-back Tajeli added a sixth in the second half with a smart volley while super-sub Adam wrapped up the resounding victory with a low shot from the edge of the box, with the two strikes sandwiching Krajček’s consolation for the Tigers through a neat lob over Sailors’ stand-in custodian Rudy Khairullah.



  • Balestier’s defeat meant no teams have won more than two games in a row this season.
  • This is Balestier’s biggest defeat since a 7-1 defeat by Brunei DPMM at the same venue in April 2019.
  • The Sailors’ 5-0 advantage at the break is the biggest half-time lead since Home United led 6-0 in their 9-3 thrashing of Brunei DPMM in May 2017.
  • Saifullah’s and Tajeli’s goals mean the Sailors now have the most different scorers with nine.
  • Plazibat’s 21-minute hat-trick is the fastest since Shahfiq Ghani’s 17-minute feat (56th, 64th and 73th) in Hougang United’s 5-4 defeat away at DPMM in September 2019.
  • This is Plazibat’s second hat-trick this season – no one else has scored a hat-trick.
  • Plazibat is joint-top on assists (4) with Quak and Tampines’ Jordan Webb.
  • Adam scored the fastest goal as a substitute this season (1 minute 16 seconds) and has the joint-most number of goals off the bench with Albirex’s Ryoya Taniguchi (2).
  • Tajeli scored his first league goal since October 2017 when he was on target for former club Balestier in a 4-1 away win in Brunei.


Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK)(C), Gaye Sameer (Keshav Kumar 46’), Fadli Kamis, Jufri Taha (R. Aaravin 46’), Yeo Hai Ngee, Aarish Kumar (Faizal Raffi 46’), Elijah Lim (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 46’), Kristijan Krajček, Hazzuwan Halim, Šime Žužul (Karthik Raj 62’), Shuhei Hoshino.
Unused subs: Zacharial Leong (GK), Jordan Emaviwe.
Sailors: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Aqhari Abdullah (Abdil Qaiyyim 46’), Kaishu Yamazaki, Tajeli Salamat, Naqiuddin Eunos (Faizal Roslan 64’), Shahdan Sulaiman (C), Song Uiyoung (Izzdin Shafiq 69’), Saifullah Akbar, Gabriel Quak, Haiqal Pashia (Adam Swandi 64’), Stipe Plazibat (Hafiz Nor 69’).
Unused subs: Adib Nur Hakim (GK), Arshad Shamim.


Nizam rescues point with stupendous strike
Geylang 1-1 Tampines | Our Tampines Hub | 7 Nov
Khairul Nizam 22’ | Boris Kopitovic 13’

In a keenly-contested Eastern Derby, Tampines thought they were on the way to a routine victory when Montenegrin forward Kopitovic slammed home the rebound after his initial header off captain Yasir Hanapi’s cross was saved by Hairul Syirhan. However, Geylang had other ideas and Nizam unleashed a stunning shot from at least 40 yards that dipped and struck the underside of the bar before going in. The Eagles had to play the majority of the second half with 10 men after centre-back Adam Hakeem was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but Noor Ali’s men would hold out for a point. Tampines piled on the pressure but could not find the winner, with Kopitovic’s late header off Yasir’s cross going agonisingly over the bar.



  • Tampines have failed to defeat Geylang in the last three league encounters.
  • Tampines had 19 shots to Geylang’s four.
  • Geylang join Hougang as the only teams to score against Tampines’ Syazwan Buhari this season.
  • Kopitovic ended a three-game goal drought.
  • Nizam scored in three straight league games for the first time since October 2009 when he was a first-year professional player with Young Lions.
  • Adam’s red card means Geylang are now responsible for four (Fareez Farhan, Shahrin Saberin and Zainol Gulam) out of seven red cards this season.


Geylang: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Darren Teh, Yuki Ichikawa (C), Adam Hakeem, Harith Kanadi, Umar Akhbar, Firdaus Kasman, Barry Maguire, Nur Luqman (Christopher van Huizen 82’), Amy Recha (Kamolidin Tashiev 58’), Khairul Nizam.
Unused subs: Zainol Gulam (GK), Shahrin Saberin, Fareez Farhan, Iqbal Hussain, Azri Suhaili.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Amirul Adli (Irwan Shah 72’), Baihakki Khaizan, Daniel Bennett, Ryaan Sanizal (Madhu Mohana 46’), Kyoga Nakamura, Shah Shahiran, Syahrul Sazali (Zehrudin Mehmedović 65’), Yasir Hanapi (C), Jordan Webb, Boris Kopitovic.
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Huzaifah Aziz, Taufik Suparno, , Danish Siregar.


Mourning Cheetahs overpowered by energetic White Swans
Albirex 4-0 Hougang | Jurong East | 8 Nov
Hiroyoshi Kamata 55’, Kenta Kurishima 69’, Tomoyoki Doi 77’, Rio Sakuma 90’+2

Playing less than 48 hours after the shock passing of assistant coach Salim Moin, Hougang almost went ahead early on with Shawal Anuar’s header off Nazrul Nazari’s cross coming back off the bar. The Cheetahs would rue that miss as Albirex broke the deadlock early in the second half, with Kamata scrambling home from eight yards out after Ryoya Taniguchi’s scuffed shot fell into his path. Kurishima then doubled the lead with a 25-yard piledriver that arrowed into the top right corner, before Doi capitalised on some uncertain Hougang defending to add a third at the back post. Centre-back Sakuma rounded off the scoring deep into injury time with a tap-in as the White Swans closed the gap between them and leaders Tampines to just two points.



  • Albirex defeated Hougang for the first time in six games in all competitions.
  • This is Hougang’s biggest defeat to Albirex since a 5-1 loss at Jalan Besar in July 2011.
  • Albirex won 4-0 for the third time this season.
  • Five out of seven Albirex’s matches have ended in four goals.
  • Hougang have conceded the most goals from outside the box from open play (3).
  • Kamata has scored in five seasons in a row since joining Albirex in 2016.
  • Doi has scored in five out of seven matches for Albirex.
  • Nazrul Nazari made his 100th appearance for Hougang.


Albirex: Kei Okawa (GK), Kazuki Hashioka (C), Rio Sakuma, Kotaro Takeda, Hiroyoshi Kamata (Ren Ishihara 90’+2), Kenta Kurishima, Gareth Low (Yasuhiro Hanada 46’), Ryosuke Nagasawa (Ong Yu En 90’+2), Fairoz Hasan (Ryuya Mitsuzuka 61’), Ryoya Taniguchi (Mahiro Takahashi 85’), Tomoyoki Doi.
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Toshihiko Masuda.
Hougang: Ridhuan Barudin (GK, C), Nazrul Nazari, Anders Aplin (Shahfiq Ghani 71’), Lionel Tan, Zachary Anderson, Hafiz Sujad (Maksat Dzhakybaliev 79’), Fabian Kwok, Charlie Machell, Naufal Azman (Afiq Noor 46’), Farhan Zulkifli (Justin Hui 79’), Shawal Anuar.
Unused subs: Daniel Ong (GK), Faiz Salleh, Nikesh Singh.


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