Singapore Premier League • September 18, 2014
Tampines And Albirex Settle For Stalemate
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
After a three-week break, Tampines Rovers and Albirex Niigata (S) shared the spoils of a goalless draw at the Clementi Stadium on Wednesday evening,
Both teams still do have a say in the title race despite earning just one point each, after league leaders Brunei DPMM lost 2-1 to Home United on homeground on the same night.
It was an end-to-end game which kept spectators at the edge of their seats as both sides were equally superior in their respective expertise.
The Stags had more flair and were on the front foot for most of the game while remaining tight at the back, whereas Albirex on the other hand had the better of opportunities as they found the woodwork three times.
The first chance of the game fell for the Stags, as Ang Zhi Wei successfully capitalised on a defensive miscommunication by his opponents but failed in keeping his finish down.
Albirex did fancy some movement upfront but were not clinical in the process, as Koki Akasaka’s shot from outside the penalty box flew over the bar after a swift counter-attack.
The visitors did their part by making use of every opportunity they got to surge forward and force their opponents into committing errors.
Tampines Rovers goalkeeper Justin Pasfield made his only save of the night when he held onto Kazuki Sakamoto’s shot, after the striker had sprinted almost half the pitch only to side-foot have a go from close range.
Rafi Ali’s side almost found the break-through in the 38th minute, through Ismadi Mukhtar.
The left-back curled his shot trying to find the top corner of the net, but Kenjiro Ogino had other ideas as he parried the shot wide.
Albirex started to settle into the game and were inches away from drawing first blood in the brink of the first half, when Sakamoto’s finish clipped off the crossbar.
Tampines were hoping for the second half to at least go their way and were indeed edging closer to opening accounts as Jozef Kaplan saw his finish whiz past the post.
Kento Nagasaki then forced Pasfield into a point-blank save in the 74th minute, before Kosuke Matsuda’s shot scraped off the bar.
With ten minutes to go, the game started heating up as both teams’ desire to win showed.
Miljan Mrdakovic’s finish rolled inches wide before Nagasaki beat the offside trap to see his strike crash onto the upright in a one-on-one situation.
With a point for each team, Albirex remain on third while Tampines slipped to fifth place after Home’s victory over Brunei.