Muangthong stay top of TPL as Buriram continue to climb

Muangthong United remained two points clear at the Thai Premier League summit after cruising to a 4-0 win over Singhtarua at the PAT Stadium on Wednesday.

Australia international Erik Paartalu got the Twin Qilins on their way as he opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, before Datsakorn Thonglao made it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime.

Any hopes the hosts had of mounting a comeback were effectively ended when Teerasil Dangda struck a third for their opponents three minutes before the hour mark, and the rout was completed when Milan Bubalo got in on the act five minutes from time as Muangthong condemned the Port Lions to a seventh game without victory in all competition.

BEC Tero Sasana remain hot on the heels of the league leaders as they stayed within touching distance with a 2-1 triumph over Ratchaburi at the Ratchaburi Stadium.

Sho Shimoji continued his excellent run of form as he opened the scoring two minutes after halftime, before adding a second five minutes later.

Ratchaburi did manage to pull one back ten minutes from time through a Douglas Cardozo strike but were just unable to find an equaliser, as the visitors held out for the three points.

Meanwhile, Buriram United continue to recover from their awful start to 2014 as they stretched their unbeaten run to eight games in all competition with a 2-0 win at Osotspa Saraburi.

The Thunder Castle edged ahead in the 35th minute through Kai Hirano’s opener, before Philippines international Javier Patino struck a minute before the hour mark to seal the victory.

Chonburi dropped two spots to fifth after slumping to a 0-0 draw at Sisaket, while Army United climbed up to third after beating Air Force Central 2-0 at the Thai Army Sports Stadium.

It took Army just three minutes to open the scoring when defender Wellington Priori popped up at the other end to open the scoring, and Tanakorn Dangthong netted his eighth goal of the season in the 76th minute to wrap up the three points.

Another one of the league’s in-form sides – Suphanburi – are a point behind in fourth spot after coming from behind to beat Bangkok United 3-2 at the Thai-Japanese Stadium.

The hosts had taken the lead right before the break courtesy of a Romain Gasmi penalty after Korawit Narmwiset had been brought down inside the box by Piyarat Lajungreed, but Jakkapan Pornsai fired his side level five minutes into the second half.

Robert Cullen then fired Suphanburi ahead in the 57th minute and added another four minutes later to hand his side maximum points, although Bangkok United did manage to pull one back right at the death through a Sompong Soleb strike.

Over at the Tinasulanon Stadium, Bangkok Glass got back to winning ways after defeating Songkhla United 2-1.

Although the visitors had taken the lead two minutes after the hour mark when Darko Tasevski met Suphasek Kaikaew’s neat cross with a thumping header into the back of the net, it looked as though Songkhla had forced the draw after Kayne Vincent raced onto Sulkiblee Jisawad’s incisive pass and fired the equaliser past the onrushing Teerapong Puttasukha.

But two minutes from time, Lazarus Kaimbi raced down the right and cut the ball back to Tasevski, who coolly skipped past two opponents before firing into the bottom corner to win it for the Glass Rabbits.

Elsewhere, Pakorn Prempak struck six minutes from time to hand Police United a 1-0 win over PTT Rayong at the Thammasat Stadium, while Chiangrai United beat TOT 1-0 after Keita Sugimoto netted the only goal of the game in the 88th minute.

And finally, Chainat claimed their first win in four outings after defeating bottom side Samut Songkhram 3-1 at the Chainat Stadium.

Following a goalless first half, Nikola Nikezic put the hosts in front in the 53rd minute when he was left unmarked inside the six-yard box to convert a right-wing cross, before Ratchapol Nawanno made it 2-0 six minutes later with a blistering 20-yard drive into the bottom corner.

The contest was effectively ended 12 minutes from time when Chainat hit on the counter and Jeera Jarernsuk scored their third on the rebound after his initial effort had been saved, although the visitors did manage a consolation a minute later when Sakdarin Mingsamorn found the back of the net.

 Wednesday’s Thai Premier League Results

Army United 2-0 Air Force Central

Bangkok United 2-3 Suphanburi

Chainat 3-1 Samut Songkhram

Osotspa Saraburi 0-2 Buriram United

Police United 1-0 PTT Rayong

Singhtarua 0-4 Muangthong United

Sisaket 0-0 Chonburi

Songkhla United 1-2 Bangkok Glass

TOT 0-1 Chiangrai United

Ratchaburi 1-2 BEC Tero Sasana

Albirex ease past Svay Rieng into Singapore Cup quarters

Albirex Niigata (S) booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Singapore Cup on Wednesday after cruising to a 3-0 first-round win over Svay Rieng.

Kazuya Okazaki handed the White Swans the lead at the Jalan Besar Stadium after just nine minutes when he lined up a freekick on the right, and curled in an effort deceived opposition keeper Sar Sophea and sailed all the way into the far corner.

Eight minutes before halftime, they doubled their lead when Okazaki pounced on a dreadful goalkick by Sophea and crossed into the box; James Adekunle making another horrific error as he completely miskicked his attempted clearance to leave Kazuki Sakamoto the simplest of tap-ins at the far post.

And in the 61st minute, Albirex sealed their progress and condemned their Cambodian opponents to an opening-round exit as Fukuzaki, on as a halftime substitute, pounced on a clearance on the edge of the box and drilled home his side’s third into the bottom corner.

Svay Rieng: Sar Sophea, Samoeun Pidor (Hoy Phallin 61’), James Adekunle, Soeuy Visal, Nen Sothearoth, Razaqnofi Nofiu (Moung Makara 71’), Prak Mony Udom (Chea Samnang 51’), Soun Veasna, Phanny I Ratha, Nub Tola, Dzarma Bata.

Albirex Niigata (S): Kazuki Kishigami, Kento Fujihara, Taiyo Nishida, Soichiro Tanaka, Itsuki Yamada, Koki Akasaka (Ikuma Osaka 73’), Kosuke Matsuda, Keisuke Ota, Kazuya Okazaki (Kazuya Fukuzaki 46’), Kento Nagasaki, Kazuki Sakamoto (Niji Sasadaira 83’).

Mitra Kukar go top in Eastern zone; Persepam bounce back

Mitra Kukar moved top in the Eastern zone of the Indonesia Super League on Wednesday after recording a 1-0 win over Persiba Balikpapan.

Following a goalless first half at the Persiba Stadium, Zulvin Zamrun popped up in the 61st minute and netted his first goal of the campaign to hand the visitors all three points.

With the victory, Mitra overtook Persipura Jayapura at the top of the table and now lead by a single point.

Meanwhile, Persepam Madura United bounced back from last week’s 3-1 loss to Mitra with a 2-0 triumph over Persiba Bantul at the Sultan Agung Stadium.

Persepam broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when Silvio Escobar successfully converted from the spot, and the Paraguayan struck once more in the 53rd minute after his side were awarded another penalty to seal the victory.

The win allowed Persepam to move one spot up to fifth on the table, while Persiba Bantul remain bottom of the table with just six points from 13 games to their name.

Wednesday’s Indonesia Super League Results

Eastern

Persiba Balikpapan 0-1 Mitra Kukar

Persiba Bantul 0-2 Persepam Madura United

Ha Noi claim V.League 1 lead after Da Nang triumph

Ha Noi T&T moved top of the V.League 1 on Wednesday evening after claiming a 2-0 win over SHB Da Nang at the Hang Day Stadium.

Entering the game on the back of an eight-game unbeaten streak in the league, Ha Noi broke the deadlock after 15 minutes when Argentine striker Gonzalo Marronkle found the back of the net.

Six minutes after the break, Marronkle was on target again – netting his ninth goal of the campaign – to seal the three points for the hosts.

The result allowed Ha Noi to move level on 29 points with Becamex Binh Duong and Thanh Hoa, although they move top due to their superior goal difference.

Azkals see off Maldives to march into Challenge Cup final

Philippines are through to the final of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup after claiming a 3-2 extra-time win over hosts Maldives in Tuesday’s semi-final clash at the Galolhu National Stadium.

Having taken the lead through Phil Younghusband’s 19th-minute opener, the Azkals were pegged back when Mohamed Umair equalised three minutes after the half-hour mark but reclaimed the lead thanks to Jerry Lucena’s close-range finish two minutes later.

However, the Maldivians hit back once more in the 66th minute through an Assadhulla Abdulla strike to force extra-time, but it was Philippines who went on to claim the victory after Chris Greatwich popped up with another important goal to win it for his side.

Thomas Dooley’s charges are now just one game away from booking their place at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup; with Palestine standing in their way after an Ashraf Nu’man doubled handed them a 2-0 win over Afghanistan in Tuesday’s other last-four clash.

Given the magnitude of the prize at stake, it was understandable that both Philippines and Maldives started the game adopting a cautious approach.

Yet as the half wore on, the match also began to open up and it was the Azkals who drew first blood in the 19th minute when Younghusband did well to bring down a high ball while holding off the challenge of Ibrahim Fazeel, before firing away a shot that was too hot for Mohamed Imran to keep out.

Stunned at falling behind, the Red Snappers sought to muster an immediate response and looked set to do just that in the 33rd minute when Ali Ashfaq broke into the box and was about to pull the trigger, only for Daisuke Sato to halt his progress with a fantastic last-ditch tackle.

But three minutes later, the scores were level after the a lapse in concentration from the visitors’ defence allowed Ali Fasir to flick a pass through to Umair, who ran onto it and sent a clever lob over Roland Muller and into the back of the net.

Nonetheless, the celebrations from the home crowd had barely died down when Philippines reclaimed the lead in the 38th minute after Sato burst down the left and drilled a cross into the box, where Lucena reacted well to nip in ahead of Amdhan Ali before blasting his shot past Imran from close range.

By now, the Azkals were aware that they were a mere 45 minutes away from moving one step closer to next year’s Asian Cup but six minutes after the restart, their opponents were presented with a golden opportunity to equalise when they were awarded a penalty after Ashfaq fell over inside the box as he attempted to force his way past Sato and Amani Aguinaldo.

Yet, for the second time in two games, Muller proved to be unbeatable from 12 yards as he produced an excellent save down low to keep out Fazeel’s spot-kick.

Still, there was little he could do to prevent the Maldivians from making it 2-2 six minutes after the hour mark after a corner whipped towards the near post by Umair was met by substitute Assadhulla, whose deft touch was deflected by Aguinaldo past Muller.

With time fast running out, both sides looked to summon one final push to claim the winner but neither was willing to budge.

Maldives looked destined to score four minutes from time after Ashfaq had carved apart the opposition defence with an unstoppable run but Rob Gier came to his side’s rescue with a crucial block, before Younghusband had a shot cleared off the line by Rilwan after racing onto Patrick Reichelt’s through-ball and rounding Imran in injury-time.

And in the final minute, Ashfaq had another chance to emerge as the hero for the home side when he found space inside the box, but his curling effort on his trusted left foot drew a terrific save from Muller before it could find the bottom corner.

In the end, with neither side able to find the winner in the 90 minutes, extra-time beckoned and Philippines were unlucky not to edge ahead again in the 103rd minute when Younghusband did well to bring down a long ball from Simone Rota before firing a shot away on the turn that forced Imran into a flying stop.

However, a minute later, the pivotal moment finally arrived as Younghusband’s right-wing cross fell to Reichelt and although he failed to connect cleanly with his shot, Greatwich – scorer of two crucial goals at the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup that saw the Azkals make the semi-finals for the first time in their history – was on hand to help the ball over the line from a yard out and win it for his side.

Philippines: Roland Muller, Simone Rota, Rob Gier, Amani Aguinaldo, Daisuke Sato, Jerry Lucena (Chris Greatwich 46’), Jason De Jong, Martin Steuble (Simon Greatwich 109’), Paul Mulders (Stephan Schrock 68’), Patrick Reichelt, Phil Younghusband.

Maldives: Mohamed Imran, Rilwan Waheed, Shafiu Ahmed (Mohamed Shifan 92’), Amdhan Ali, Mohamed Rasheed, Ibrahim Fazeel (Assadhulla Abdulla 62’), Mohamed Arif, Ashad Ali (Akram Abdul Ghanee 46’), Mohamed Umair, Ali Fasir, Ali Ashfaq.

Five-star Geylang trump Rams; Balestier upset Warriors

Geylang International put in a brilliant display at the Woodlands Stadium on Tuesday to defeat Woodlands Wellington 5-1 in the first round of the Singapore Cup.

Khairulnizam Jumahat opened the scoring for the Eagles in the 15th minute when he pounced on the loose ball after Woodlands had cleared a freekick from Mustaqim Manzur, and sent a stunning 45-yard screamer into the top corner.

Three minutes after the half-hour mark, the visitors doubled their tally after Mustaqim was left in acres of space down the left and had all the time in the world to play a perfect cross for Leonel Felice to head home from two yards out.

Woodlands did manage to pull one back three minutes before halftime when Chang Jo-yoon sent Siddiq Durimi the wrong way from the spot, after they had won penalty following a foul on Moon Soon-ho by Jalal inside the area.

But five minutes into the second half, Geylang reclaimed their two-goal cushion when Mustaqim lined up a freekick on the left wing and produced a sublime effort that curled and dipped right into the far corner.

Just three minutes later, the contest was effectively over as the Eagles netted a fourth following a blistering counterattack; Aliff Shafaein playing a first-time ball to release Felice before racing into the box to meet the Argentine’s return cross and stabbing home from close range.

And in the 70th minute, the rout was completed after Rams captain Rosman Sulaiman let an over-the-top ball bounce, allowing Hafiz Nor to nip it and poke the ball past a hapless Yazid to cap off an outstanding performance from Jorg Steinebrunner’s charges.

Over at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Balestier Khalsa booked their place in the quarter-finals after claiming an upset 3-1 win over Warriors FC.

It took the Tigers just six minutes to open the scoring when Zulkiffli Hassim struck after the opposition defence had gone to sleep, but Warriors equalised on the stroke of halftime when Miroslav Pejic scored with a deflected freekick.

However, Balestier reclaimed the lead two minutes after the hour mark when Goran Ljubojevic pounced on a defensive error to score from close range, before Park Kang-jin sealed the win in the 78th minute with a sweetly-struck effort from outside the box.

Woodlands Wellington: Yazid Yasin, Goh Swee Swee (Andy Ahmad 46’), Bah Mamadou (Patrick Paran 72’), Milos Jevtic, Rosman Sulaiman, Atsushi Shimono, Armanizam Dolah, Shafuan Sutohmoh, Fadhil Noh (Farouq Farkhan 65’), Moon Soon-ho, Chang Jo-yoon.

Geylang International: Siddiq Durimi, Khairulnizam Jumahat, Kento Fukuda, Yuki Ichikawa, Jalal (Hamqaamal Shah 60’), Joaquin Lopez (Franco Chivilo 67’), Fabian Kwok, Ridhuan Muhammad, Aliff Shafaein (Hafiz Nor 60’), Mustaqim Manzur, Leonel Felice.

Persiram beat Persela to end six-game winless streak

Persiram Raja Ampat claimed their first win in seven matches in the Indonesia Super League on Tuesday after beating Persela Lamongan 2-0 in the Eastern zone.

Having claimed just two points from their last six outings, Persiram entered the game at the Maguwoharjo Stadium desperately needing maximum points to revive their campaign.

Just 12 minutes in, they got off to a perfect start after Steven Imbiri found the back of the net to claim his first goal of the season.

However, the hosts were unable to kill off the game and Persela always threatened to grab an equaliser, until the 84th minute when George Parfait Mbida-Messi netted a second to wrap up the victory for his side.

The result helped Persiram climb two spots up to fifth on the table, while Persela remain one spot above and four points behind Eastern leaders Persipura Jayapura.