News • September 17, 2017
Wasps Edged Out By White Swans
Written by: Dwyane James
Albirex Niigata (S) inched closer to retaining the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League title after edging Brunei DPMM 1-0 in Bandar Seri Begawan on Saturday night.
Naofumi Tanakaâs first half goal separated the two sides as the White Swans extended their winning streak to 12 games in all competitions.
Albirex went forward immediately at the start and Takuya Akiyama was on target as he forced DPMM goalkeeper Awangku Muâizzuddin to make a save.
The Japanese side should have gone in front in the 13th minute but Kento Nagasakiâs long range effort came off the underside of the crossbar. Shoichiro Sakamoto raced to the rebound but Muâizzudin recovered quickly to deny him.
Over at the other end six minutes later, the hosts had an opportunity of their own. Azwan Ali Rahman chipped an onrushing Yosuke Nozawa but the ball was cleared off the line by Tanaka.
The visitors grabbed the lead in the 26th minute after Muâizzuddin fumbled Nagasakiâs freekick, allowing Tanaka to pounce and score.
They came close to adding a second on the half hour mark but Muâizzuddin pulled off a great save to keep out Sakamotoâs effort.
Nagasaki hit the target again from inside the area in the 35th minute but it went straight to the DPMM shot-stopper.
Steve Keanâs side came out strongly at the start of the second half in search of an equaliser.
Rafael Ramazotti headed just inches wide off the left post before Adi Said nodded Azwan Aliâs freekick from inside the six-yard box which required a quick reflex save by Nozawa.
The reigning champions had a good chance to double their advantage in the 57th minute after good ball movement to work the ball into the box but Nagasaki somehow poked his shot wide from six yards out.
Skipper Rosmin Kamis then came to the rescue of DPMM in the 71st minute as he cleared Sakomotoâs header off the line.
DPMM head coach Steve Kean made a last throw of the dice by throwing on the duo of Shahrazen Said and Daud Gazale in the final 20 minutes.
Ramazotti could have snatched one point out of the encounter in the final minute but his acrobatic effort went over as Albirex hung on for their 16th win of the season.
The result meant Albirex are now 12 points clear of nearest challengers Tampines Rovers, albeit with two games in hand. DPMM meanwhile, remain in eighth with five points from 16 matches.
Brunei DPMM Head Coach Steve Kean: âIâm proud of the players, the way we played. Albirex are at the top of the table and a long way in front. I donât think that showed tonight against us. We probably had better chances than them but it didnât fall for us.
âBut the way we controlled the game and it looked like at times Albirex were afraid. As soon we got the ball in the wide areas, we were a threat all night.â
Albirex Niigata (S) Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga: âWe predicted it will be a tough game. Luckily we had a goal through a setplay and our defence concentrated a lot to make sure they didnât score.
âIn (Rafael) Ramazotti, we knew they had a strong focal point in attack so we concentrated on clearing the crosses from both sides.â
Brunei DPMM: Awangku Mu’izzuddin (GK), Helmi Zambin, Rosmin Kamis (C), Yura Indera Putera (Reduan Petara 74â), Abdul Mu’iz Sisa, Hanif Hamir, Azwan Saleh, Azwan Ali (Daud Gazale 78â), Nurikhwan Othman, Rafael Ramazotti, Adi Said (Shahrazen Said 78â)
Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK), Rui Kumada (Tomoki Menda 75â), Yasutaka Yanagi, Takuya Akiyama, Naofumi Tanaka, Ryuya Motoda, Hiroyoshi Kamata, Shuto Inaba (C), Kento Nagasaki, Ryota Nakai (Shoma Kondo 90â), Shoichiro Sakamoto (Koki Sato 90â)