Singapore Premier League • March 4, 2019

Singapore Premier League Week 1: Roundup

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SINGAPORE, 4 MARCH 2019 – An intriguing opening weekend of the 2019 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) drew to a close on Sunday evening, with Tampines Rovers sending out a strong statement thanks to their convincing victory against Hougang United. Elsewhere, Geylang International shocked defending champions Albirex Niigata (S), while Balestier Khalsa and Brunei DPMM also recorded opening wins.

Geylang 1-0 Albirex | Our Tampines Hub
Yuki Ichikawa 84’
Despite being handicapped by injuries to Anders Aplin, Amy Recha, Shawal Anuar, Christopher van Huizen and Firdaus Kasman, the Eagles managed to stun the Japanese side. Mohd Noor Ali’s men rode their luck as the White Swans hit each post once and Jufri Taha made a superb goal-line clearance to thwart Daizo Horikoshi, before Yuki Ichikawa (pictured above) rose highest to head in Fareez Farhan’s corner for the only goal of the game.

Facts
– Geylang ended Albirex’s record 50-game unbeaten run in all domestic competitions. Their last defeat was a 2-1 away loss to Hougang in the league in July 2017.
– It is the Eagles’ first win in nine attempts against Albirex, since July 2016 when Shawal Anuar scored the only goal in a League Cup tie.
– Geylang won their league opener for the first time in ten seasons. The last time they did was in 2009, also against Albirex, in a 3-1 win where Noor Ali scored once.
– Ichikawa has already equalled his overall goal haul from last season.
– Noor Ali’s son, Ilhan Noor, was on the Geylang bench.

Geylang: Zainol Gulam (GK), Darren Teh (C), Shahrin Saberin, Jufri Taha, Yuki Ichikawa, Danish Irfan (Fikri Junaidi 65′), Syahiran Miswan, Barry Maguire, Umar Akhbar (Muhd Noor Ariff 72′), Fareez Farhan, Zikos Chua (Ifwat Ismail 46′).
Unused subs: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Azri Suhaili, Harith Kanadi, Ilhan Noor.
Albirex: Kengo Fukudome (GK), Firas Irwan (Yoshikatsu Hiraga 46′), Shoki Ohara (Kodai Sumikawa 85′), Shuhei Sasahara, Naruki Takahashi, Sota Sugiyama, Kaishu Yamazaki, Daizo Horikoshi, Zamani Zamri (Ryo Nakano 46′), Kyoga Nakamura (C), Hiroyoshi Kamata.
Unused subs: Hyrulnizam Juma’at (GK), Gerald Ang, Daichi Tanabe, Daniel Martens.

Young Lions 1-4 Balestier | Jalan Besar
Haiqal Pashia 33’ | Šime Žužul 10′, 45′, Hazzuwan Halim 73′, Huzaifah Aziz 90′
Croatian striker Šime Žužul (pictured above) bagged a brace on his Balestier debut to help Khidhir Khamis take all three points on his SPL debut as head coach. The 23-year-old broke the deadlock with a tap-in after excellent work from Daniel Goh on the right set him up, before netting an opportunistic second to restore their lead. Haiqal Pashia had struck a powerful equaliser but Fandi Ahmad’s men could not find a second one as Hazzuwan Halim doubled the lead, before Huzaifah Aziz capped a superb run along the byline with a clever finish from a tight angle.

Facts
– Young Lions have not beaten Balestier in any of their last nine encounters now, drawing one of those.
– Huzaifah Aziz has now scored against Young Lions in each of Balestier’s last three trips to Jalan Besar.
– This is Balestier’s first opening league win since 2010 (2-1 vs Hougang), having lost each of their last four.
– Žužul is the third player in as many seasons to score on his Balestier league debut after Keegan Linderboom (2018) and Raihan Rahman (2017).
– The last Balestier player to score at least twice in a game was Hazzuwan Halim against DPMM in a 4-1 away league win October 2017 – 33 matches ago.

Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Lionel Tan, Jacob Mahler, Syahrul Sazali, Nur Luqman Rahman, Joshua Pereira (C), Gareth Low (Akram Azman 73′), Nur Adam Abdullah, Saifullah Akbar (Naqiuddin Eunos 65′), Syukri Bashir (Abdul Rasaq Akeem 78′), Haiqal Pashia.
Unused subs: Kenji Rusydi (GK), Asraf Zahid, Prakash Raj, Sharul Nizam Anwar.
Balestier: Zaiful Nizam (GK)(C), Fadli Kamis, Nurullah Hussein, Khalili Khalif, Daniel Goh (Sanjin Vrebac 65′), Huzaifah Aziz, Raihan Rahman, Kristijan Krajček (Illyas Lee 87′), Fariz Faizal (Ahmad Syahir 46′), Hazzuwan Halim, Šime Žužul.
Unused subs: Faris Danial (GK), Sufianto Salleh, Akbar Shah, Sameer Alassane.

Home 0-1 DPMM | Bishan
Andrei Varankou 22’
Playing their third game in eight days, a tired-looking Home fell to defeat in a match of few chances. Isaka Cernak returned from injury to start but missing the injured Song Uiyoung and Hami Syahin, the Protectors struggled to create openings and never threatened. Adrian Pennock’s charges did not exactly impress either but a moment of genuine quality was enough to produce the winner as Shah Razen Said curled a magnificent left-footed cross for former Belarus international Andrei Varankou (extreme left, above) to head in a debut goal.

Facts
– It was the first time Home failed to score at least once against DPMM in ten meetings.
– It is Home’s first defeat against DPMM at home in eight games.
– Varankou is the first ever Belarussian to score in league history.

Home: Nazri Sabri (GK), Faritz Hameed, Abdil Qaiyyim, Faizal Roslan, Aqhari Abdullah, Izzdin Shafiq (C), Isaka Cernak, Arshad Shamim (Hafiz Nor 61′), Iqram Rifqi (Nur Hizami 71′), Adam Swandi, Shahril Ishak.
Unused subs: Haikal Hasnol (GK), Juma’at Jantan, Ho Wai Loon, Anaqi Ismit.
DPMM: Wardun Yussof (GK)(C), Yura Indera Putera, Charlie Clough, Nurikhwan Othman, Awangku Fakharrazi (Helmi Zambin 73′), Blake Ricciuto, Hendra Azam, Najib Tarif (Abdul Mu’iz Sisa 68′), Shah Razen Said (Azwan Saleh 67′), Abdul Azizi Rahman, Andrei Varankou.
Unused subs: Haimie Nyaring (GK), Suhaimi Sulau, Razimee Ramlli, Abdul Aziz Tamit.

Hougang 1-5 Tampines | Jalan Besar
Faris Ramli pen. 56′ | Irwan Shah 45′, Ryutaro Megumi 64′, Zulfahmi Arifin OG 70′, Zehrudin Mehmedović 76′, Jordan Webb 90’+3
Hougang’s win-less run stretched to nine matches in all competitions after being swept aside by an impressive Tampines, who piled on the misery after opposing right-back Justin Hui copped a second yellow on 51 minutes. Jordan Webb set up Irwan Shah to fire home on the stroke of half-time, before Ryutaro Megumi restored the lead after Faris Ramli had levelled from the spot. Taufik Suparno’s cross was then inadvertently turned in by Zulfahmi Arifin and the Cheetahs’ night soon got worse as substitute Zehrudin Mehmedović scored one and created a fifth for Webb.

Facts
– Hougang have now lost their last seven meetings against Tampines, scoring just thrice during that run.
– Tampines have now benefitted from an own goal in each of their last two encounters against Hougang.
– Tampines’ goals came from at least five different players in one match for the first time since a 6-4 League Cup win against Hougang United in July 2016 (six different scorers then).
– Khairulhin has saved each of the last two penalties he has faced in the league.

Hougang: Khairulhin Khalid (GK), Justin Hui, Fabian Kwok, Afiq Yunos, Jordan Vestering (Faiz Salleh 70′), Zulfahmi Arifin (C), Amir Zalani (Nazrul Nazari 56′), M. Anumanthan, Faris Ramli, Iqbal Hussein (Fazrul Nawaz 77′), Stipe Plazibat.
Unused subs: Ridhuan Barudin (GK), Afiq Noor, Hafiz Sujad, Mahathir Azeman.
Tampines: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Madhu Mohana, Amirul Adli, Daniel Bennett, Irwan Shah, Shahdan Sulaiman (C), Shah Shahiran (Hamizan Hisham 80′), Joel Chew (Zehrudin Mehmedović 46′), Ryutaro Megumi, Jordan Webb, Taufik Suparno (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 77′).
Unused subs: Nurshafiq Zaini (GK), Akmal Azman, Khairul Amri, Ryaan Sanizal.