Tampines Rovers back to winning ways, Albirex deny Sailors: SPL 2021 [Week 19]

White Swans remain in drivers seat for 2021 AIA Singapore Premier League Title Race

Image via AIA Singapore Premier League


LION CITY SAILORS 1-1 ALBIREX NIIGATA: LATE TANIGUCHI GOAL DENIES SAILORS


In what was billed as a title decider in this top of the table clash, a late goal by Ryoya Taniguchi denied Lion City Sailors victory at Jalan Besar Stadium and kept Albirex Niigata in the drivers' seat for the 2021 AIA Singapore Premier League title.


Trailing the White Swans by 5 points heading into this match with a game in hand, the Sailors needed victory to wrestle control of the title race back into their own hands, and looked set to do so when Haiqal Pashia broke the deadlock on 23 minutes to put the Sailors ahead, running in at the near post to meet Faris Ramli's low cross after the latter had been set free on the right by Gabriel Quak's pass.

In a match that provided end to end free flowing football, chances were aplenty at both ends, with Albirex Niigata keeping Hassan Sunny busy in the Lion City Sailors goal with a series of chances, but the Singapore national custodian proved equal to the task denying efforts by Hashioka and Taniguchi.


The Sailors should have doubled the lead 5 minutes before the break when Faris Ramli squared the ball across goal again for Haiqal Pashia, but the latter somehow this time managed to drag his shot wide with a gaping goal at his mercy.


3 minutes after the break it would be Gabriel Quak's turn to miss a guilt edged opportunity when good build up play by the Sailors carved open a chance with Faris Ramli brought down in the box by Takahiro Koga, but with the advantage played, Quak's shot struck the underside of the bar before bouncing to safty - much to the relief of Albirex Niigata.

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Both Koga and Sunny were in the thick of the action with chances aplenty at both ends for Hafiz Nor and Taniguchi but the Sailors' earlier misses would prove costly as the White Swans levelled the match in stoppage time when Ryo Taniguchi met Shuya Yamashita's flick on with a header that trickled past a static Sailors defence into goal to rescue a point for Albirex.


TAMPINES ROVERS 2-1 YOUNG LIONS: STAGS REVIVAL

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Tampines Rovers are finally back to winning ways after a hard earned 2-1 win over Young Lions at Our Tampines Hub on Saturday.


With pressure mounting on Tampines Rovers entering this fixture, Gavin Lee and his charges knew that nothing other than a win against an improved Young Lions side would be enough with the season entering its final three weeks.


Leading scorer Boris Kopitovic almost found the opening for the Stags on the quarter of an hour mark, racing half the length of the pitch before getting goalside of Danish Irfan and Jacob Mahler, but squandered the chance by sending his shot straight at Ridhwan Fikri from his weaker left foot.

Mehmedovic continued his recent rich scoring vein and made it back to back games with a goal on the half hour with a deflected free kick finding the back of the Young Lions net to put the Stags one up.


Tampines Rovers then squandered a series of chances with Kyoga Nakamura and Kopitovic both sending their shots from range wide of the Young Lions goal.

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The Stags profligacy almost proved costly when the Young Lions leveled the match on 71 minutes through Jacob Mahler after Zulqarnaen Suzliman was adjudged to have been felled in the box by Mahdu Mohana, but had Taufiq Suparno to thank when the super sub found the net just a minute later, drilling his shot past Ridhwan Fikri off a creative backheel pass by Mehmedovic to seal all three points for the Stags.


TANJONG PAGAR UNITED 1-1 HOUGANG UNITED: JURONG EAST STALEMATE


Khairul Amri's second half goal for Tanjong Pagar United rescued a point for the Jaguars and denied third placed Hougang United a victory at Jurong East Stadium.

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Leading fourth placed Tampines Rovers by 9 points, Hougang United have already all but cemented third place for the season, but fifth placed Tanjong Pagar United still has plenty to play for in their efforts to stay ahead of Balestier Khalsa and Geylang International.


Things couldn't have started any worse for the Jaguars with Gilberto Fortunato opening the scoring for Hougang United inside 10 minutes with a delightful lob over Zharfan Rohaizad.

The Jaguars grew in confidence as the match wore on however, an were finally rewarded 7 minutes into the second half when Reo Nishiguchi's cross to the far post was met by Khairul Amri's volley which left Izwan Mahbud with no chance in the Hougang goal.


Looking to bounce back, the Cheetahs piled on the pressure but efforts by Gilberto, Tomoyuki Doi were denied by a resilient Tanjong Pagar rearguard as both teams were forced to take a share of the spoils.

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