Hougang United and Albirex Niigata Run Riot: SPL 2021 [Week 18]

Heavy defeats for Eastern clubs Tampines Rovers and Geylang International, as White Swans edge closer to SPL title

Image via AIA Singapore Premier League


Albirex Niigata underlined their championship credentials with a huge victory over Geylang International, hitting the Eagles for five at the Jurong East Stadium. The win puts them 5 points ahead of nearest title challengers, Lion City Sailors, who are set to play against Young Lions on Sunday.

The White Swans signalled their intent from early exchanges, keeping Geylang International custodian Zaiful Nizam busy in the opening 20 minutes, with Kosuke Chiku coming the closest to breaking the deadlock with a free kick that clipped the bar.

Image via AIA Singapore Premier League

The Eagles can count themselves unlucky to then see the on form Amy Recha's lobbed effort from outside the area hit the wrong side of the post before bouncing out of play with Takahiro Koga stranded outside his area on 21 minutes.

The deadlock was finally broken on the half hour mark, as Fikri Junaidi rifled home from the edge of the area to put Albirex Niigata in front going in at the break, before the floodgates opened in the second period.

Ryosuke Nagasawa's pounced on Abdil Qayyim's mistake on the left side of the area before before planting the ball into bottom corner of Zaiful Nizam's goal for two. The Eagles poured forward in numbers, as Koga denied Barry Maguire's flying header after he was set up by Moresche's teasing cross on the left.

Ryoya Taniguchi then put the match result beyond doubt when he headed home a third off Takahiro Tezuka's corner, before sidefooting Yu Tokiwa's cutback to make it four 8 minutes later. Kuraba Kondo then wrapped up the match with a fifth in injury time as he raced the length of the pitch and rounded Nizam for a heavy defeat to the Eagles.

Image via AIA Singapore Premier League


If his status as the league's top goalscorer wasn't certain yet, Tomoyuki Doi certainly made it clear with yet another hattrick for Hougang United, as the Cheetahs condemned Tampines Rovers to their seventh league defeat of the season at Hougang Stadium.

Image via AIA Singapore Premier League

In what proved to be an end to end ten-goal thriller, Hougang United opened the scoring through skipper Fabian Kwok after just 4 minutes with Kwok sending a delightful lob from outside the area past a stranded Zulfairuuz Rudy, before Tampines Rovers leveled on 11 minutes through Mehmedovic after the match referee correctly allowed the match to play on.

From then on it was the Tomoyuki Doi show as he demonstrated just why he is this season's SPL top marksman. The Japanese hitman re-established Hougang's lead with a sweet left foot drive across the face of goal on 17 minutes, before executing an acrobating right footed volley on 23 minutes to make it 3-1 after being teed up by Gilberto.

Doi completed his hattrick on the half hour with a freekick inside Tampines Rovers' penalty box, slamming the ball home after Zulfairuuz Rudy was adjudged to have handled the ball in a back pass.

Tampines Rovers then pulled a goal back on the counter attack through Kopitovic 3 minutes before the break with the Hougang defence in sixes and sevens, and the Tampines hitman added a second on 58 minutes to narrow the gap to a solitary goal as the Stags clawed their way back.

Image via AIA Singapore Premier League

It was not meant to be Tampines' day however, as Hougang United romped home with three further goals from Lionel Tan, Gilberto Fortunato, and Hafiz Sujaad to leave Tampines Rovers with another heavy defeat.

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