Singapore Premier League • November 3, 2015
Young Lions Shock White Swans To Grab Victory
Written by: Shawn Lim
Albirex Niigata (S) fell to a shock 1-0 defeat to Courts Young Lions at Jurong East Stadium on Monday evening.
Jordan Webb’s sixth goal of the season was enough to help the visitors secure victory and made it almost impossible for the White Swans to stay in the title race.
The defeat for the hosts saw their two match unbeaten run ended, and left them in fourth place with 39 points, seven behind league leaders Brunei DPMM.
The visitors started the game brightly and carved out a host of chances in the opening exchanges, but were unable to find the back of the net.
There was barely seven minutes on the clock when Jordan Webb sent Taufik Suparno through on goal, but the latter’s shot at goal was cleared off the line by Takahiro Saito.
A minute later, Sherif El-Masri curled a shot agonisingly wide of the mark from just outside the 18-yard box, while Afiq Noor saw his effort from the edge of the box saved by Albirex custodian Yosuke Nozawa in the 12th minute.
El-Masri tried his luck again in the 16th minute after cutting in from the right wing, but fired straight at Nozawa.
Goalscoring chances continued to remain at a premium for the White Swans as they struggled to build anything of note against a tight Young Lions defence, but almost broke the deadlock in the 36th minute against the run of play.
Rion Taki broke free down the left before playing a cross into the box for Yusuke Mukai, but the midfielder sent his header just over the crossbar.
The Young Lions finally went ahead on the stroke of half-time when Webb unleashed a thunderous left-foot volley into the back of the net from 18 yards, leaving Nozawa with no chance of saving it.
The hosts took control of the proceedings after the break, but were unable to convert their chances.
Substitute Atsushi Kawata had a great chance to level matters for the White Swans in the 71st minute after giving Webb the slip outside the box, but fired straight at Young Lions custodian Syazwan Buhari instead.
The visitors continued to press forward and increase the lead at every opportunity available though, and should have doubled their lead in the 76th minute when Webb sent Irfan Fandi through on goal with an exquisite pass.
However, the 18-year-old sent his shot wide of the gaping goalmouth after Nozawa was caught in no man’s land.
Syazwan’s reflexes was put to the test in a space of two minutes when he pulled off two top-drawer saves to deny Taki first from 30 yards out, before turning away Kawata’s piledriver from a similar position in the 86th minute.
There was a final chance for the White Swans to grab the equaliser one minute from time, but Kawata’s ambitious chip from inside the box sailed horribly high and wide over the goalpost.
Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK) (C), Mikiya Yamada, Kento Fujihara, Takahiro Saito, Itsuki Yamada, Yusuke Mukai, Hikaru Mizuno, Shun Inaba, Kento Nagasaki (Atsushi Kawata 55’), Fumiya Kogure, Rion Taki
Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari (GK) (C), Fadli Kamis, Amirul Adli, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Afiq Noor (Shamil Sharif 90’), Ammirul Emmran, Safirul Sulaiman, Sherif El-Masri (Amy Recha 58’), Jordan Webb, Nur Na’iim Ishak (Irfan Fandi 73’), Taufik Suparno