News • July 24, 2017

The New Paper League Cup 2017: Super Sano Wins It For White Swans



Written by: Ryan Low

An extra-time winner by Tsubasa Sano saw Albirex Niigata (S) sink Warriors 1-0 in The New Paper League Cup final to clinch a record-breaking fourth triumph in this tournament in front of 2,384 fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.

Jordan Webb had a chance to win it for the Warriors in regulation time, but saw his penalty saved by Albirex goalkeeper Yosuke Nozawa.

Warriors enjoyed a glut of chances throughout the match, but failed to apply the finishing touch.

Their first chance came as early as in the seventh minute, with Ho Wai Loon seeing his right-footed shot pushed to safety by Nozawa.

A minute later, Webb was slipped through on goal by captain Shahril Ishak but Nozawa was in the way once again.

Midway through the first half, Romanian forward Andrei Cosmin-Ciolacu broke free in the box but saw his shot from a tight angle parried by Nozawa.

In contrast, Albirex’s only decent chance in the first 45 minutes fell to Sano, whose header from Hiroyoshi Kamata’s cross was tipped around for a corner by Warriors custodian Hyrulnizam Juma’at.

The White Swans almost scored early in the second half though, with Sano seeing his goal-bound drive tipped over the bar by Hyrulnizam.

However, the best chances still fell to the Warriors, with Shahril nodding over from Zulfadli Zainal Abidin’s cross before Webb lashed high and wide from outside the box.

Razif Onn’s side could have won it in the 82nd minute when they were awarded a penalty with Hafiz Nor’s shot ricocheting off Takuya Akiyama’s hand.

However, Webb’s resulting spot-kick was parried by Nozawa, before Shahril somehow skied the rebound.

There was another excellent opportunity just before full time, but Ciolacu contrived to fire over from close range.

The game then headed into extra time, with Warriors continuing to enjoy good openings.

Substitute Ridhuan Muhammad just failed to connect with Ciolacu’s cross-shot, before Shahril saw his cheeky chip tipped over by Nozawa.

Baihakki Khaizan then headed home in the 104th minute, but saw his effort ruled out by the offside flag.

They paid the price dearly for those missed opportunities as Albirex would break the deadlock seven minutes later.

Substitute Ryuya Motoda’s cross was spilled by Hyrunizam into the six-yard box, where a lurking Sano made no mistake with a first-time finish in the bottom left corner.

Warriors had the ball in the net again right before the end when Shahril teed up Ridhuan to thump home, but the goal was disallowed due to the former straying offside earlier.

Albirex eventually hung on for the victory to leapfrog Brunei DPMM as the side with the most wins in The New Paper League Cup.

Albirex Niigata (S) Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga: “We had prepared the team to fight till penalties, so our players ran themselves to the ground and challenged for every loose ball. The hard work brought them some luck at the end.

“I wasn’t thinking much about the penalty, I was thinking more about what subs to bring on if that had gone in. It was a bit hard for our physical condition as we played with almost the same team since the start of July, but we trained the players to keep their shape and discipline.

“Last year the team created history and built a good foundation, so I have to thank the people before me and I also congratulate my players for this victory.”

Warriors FC Head Coach Razif Onn: “In the first half they came in our half, but we managed to hold them and make a lot of counters. We had a few clear-cut chances, but unfortunately things didn’t go our way.

“Jordan was immediately demoralised after missing the penalty and couldn’t perform after that. Hyrunizam made a mistake for the goal, but he made a few good saves before that. As I said, many things can happen in a game.

“It’s a lesson learnt, but I’ve nothing bad to say about my players’ performance. If they can put up a gutsy display like this when we face them (Albirex) again on 29th July in the S.League, we can give them a good fight.”

Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK), Hiroyoshi Kamata, Yasutaka Yanagi, Takuya Akiyama, Naofumi Tanaka, Shoichiro Sakamoto (Ryuya Motoda 70’), Shuto Inaba (C) (Yuuki Yamanouchi 105’), Kento Nagasaki, Rui Kumada, Ryota Nakai (Koki Sato 72’), Tsubasa Sano

Warriors FC: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Emmeric Ong, Kento Fukuda, Baihakki Khaizan, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (Ridhuan Muhammad 96’), Syaqir Sulaiman (Shaiful Esah 66’), Ho Wai Loon (Firdaus Kasman 88’), Hafiz Nor, Jordan Webb, Shahril Ishak (C), Andrei-Cosmin Ciolacu