Singapore Premier League • August 29, 2014

White Swans Overturn Fortunes Against Eagles


Written By: Kenneth Ho

Albirex Niigata mounted possibly the comeback of the season as they overturned a three-goal deficit to earn a 4-3 win over Geylang International in a Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League tie at the Bedok Stadium on Thursday evening.

Kazuki Sakamoto got the comeback started with a brilliant effort before Koki Akasaka and Keisuke Ota added their names to the score-sheet to level matters. Norihiro Kawakami then scored the winner in injury time to complete the turnaround.

Things were looking bright for the Eagles when the game started, as Mustaqim Manzur hit the woodwork with a curler in the sixth minute.

The hosts then took the lead through defender Kento Fukuda as he won the ball from Kenjiro Ogino and prodded it home in the 15th minute.

Ogino then had to push away Leonel Felice’s low show minutes later before his opposite counterpart Joey Sim palmed away an Albirex’s header.

Geyland’s lead was doubled in the 35th minute, as Ogino then fumbled the ball again and allowed Felice to take the ball away from him and slot into an unguarded net.

Five minutes before the half ended, Ogino had to endure conceding another goal again as he made a good save from Yuki Ichikawa only to see the rebound fall for Fukuda to slam home.

However, the visitors reduced the gap just before halftime as Sakamoto weaved his way towards the edge of box before unleashing a right-footed shot which went in off the bar.

There was still a two-goal lead for Geylang, but they seemed content to defend and allowed Albirex to grab the initiative in the next half.

While Mustaqim was able to make a goal-line clearance from Kento Fujihara’s header in the 47th minute, there was nothing the hosts could do when Akasaka’s shot was deflected past Sim ten minutes later.

The second goal by Albirex spurred the Eagles back into life, as they began attacking with purpose again.

Ridhuan found the side-netting after being released by Hafiz Nor while Fracno Chivilo’s powerful effort was stopped in its path by Ogino.

But there was no stopping the White Swans by now, as they played with renewed confidence and finally drew level in the 69th minute when Ota planted in Sakamoto’s corner.

With the win up for grabs, both sides mounted attacks after attacks, but either side’s goalkeeper held firm.

Things were finally decided through a late goal, as Kawakami headed past Sim in injury time and left the Eagles with nothing to show for in the seven-goal thriller.