Qiu, Yasir hand Home cup advantage over Loyola

Home United claimed a comfortable aggregate lead over Loyola Meralco Sparks in the Singapore Cup quarter-finals after recording a 2-0 win in Monday’s first leg.

Following a goalless first half at the Bishan Stadium, the Protectors took the lead in the 61st minute after a costly error from Baba Sampana saw him give away possession just outside his own box to Lee Kwan-woo, who played the ball into the box to leave Qiu Li with a simple finish into the back of the net.

And four minutes later, they went on to make sure of the victory after Sirina Camara raced onto Qiu’s incisive pass and hit the byline before cutting the ball back to Yasir Hanapi, who made no mistake in sending a sublime first-time effort past Baba Sampana.

The Sparks did have their fair share of chances but were ultimately unable to find a way past Shahril Jantan, who did make a stunning save shortly after the break to prevent James Younghusband’s glancing header from finding the bottom corner.

The result leaves Home with a healthy advantage ahead of Thursday’s second leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Home United: Shahril Jantan, Masrezwan Masturi, Precious Emuejeraye, Song Inyoung, Kwon Dakyung, Yasir Hanapi, Noh Rahman, Juma’at Jantan (Bruno Castanheira 46’), Lee Kwan Woo (Fazrul Nawaz 65’), Sirina Camara, Qiu Li (Indra Sahdan Daud 70’).

Loyola Meralco Sparks: Baba Sampana, Alexandro Elnar, Samuel Bonney, Joaquin Canas, Bongbong Dorlas, Simon Greatwich, Lee Joo Young (Peter Fadrigalan 79’), Robert Canedo (Phil Younghusband 65’), James Younghusband, Mark Hartmann (Paolo Bugas 79’), Graham Caygill.

Buriram maintain pace; two in a row for Chonburi

Buriram United moved one point behind Thai Premier League leaders Muangthong United on Sunday after cruising to a 2-0 win over Ratchaburi at the Dragons Arena.

The Thunder Castle took the lead in the 15th minute when Jakkaphan Kaewprom stabbed home on the rebound inside the six-yard box, after opposition keeper Ukrit Wongmeema could only touch Theerathon Bunmathan’s freekick onto the post and back into the danger area.

On the stroke of halftime, the visitors doubled their advantage after Theerathon floated a brilliant cross into the box to Javier Patino, who made no mistake in guiding his diving header into the back of the net.

Any hopes the hosts had of mounting a second-half comeback were effectively ended in the 58th minute when they had Ekkaluck Thonghkit sent off, allowing Buriram to hold out for the win.

Fourth-placed Chonburi claimed their second straight win in five days after beating Songkhla United 2-0 at the Chonburi Stadium.

Anderson dos Santos had put the Sharks ahead in the 18th minute when he coolly stroked his shot past Nantapol Supathai after a loose ball had fallen into his path.

And eight minutes from time, the hosts went on to wrap up the three points as Nurul Sriyankem added a second; receiving possession inside the box before clinically drilling his shot into the bottom corner.

Meanwhile, Chiangrai United’s rise up the table continued as they climbed up to fifth with a 2-0 triumph over Songkhla United at the United Stadium.

Renan Marques fired them in front on the half-hour mark when he converted from the penalty spot, before making sure of the result in the second minute of injury-time with his second of the evening.

Over at the Sri Nakhon Lamduan Stadium, Bangkok United made it two wins in a row after defeating Sisaket 3-1.

Mika Chunuonsee headed home from a corner to hand the visitors a 17th-minute lead, but Sisaket equalised just three minutes later when Sarayuth Chaikamdee broke free inside the box and lashed a shot past Pisan Dorkmaikaew.

However, Bangkok United did manage to reclaim the lead two minutes before the hour mark when Kalifa Cisse netted with an acrobatic volley on the rebound, after Romain Gasmi’s initial freekick had come back off the bar.

And they made sure of the three points in injury-time when Noppol Pitfai broke free down the left and floated in an inch-perfect cross to leave Ronnachai Rangsiyo with a simple tap-in at the back post.

Finally, Army United’s dreadful form continued as they played out a 1-1 draw with Chainat at the Thai Army Sports Stadium.

It initially looked as though Army were headed for their first victory in seven games after Goran Jerkovic handed them the lead after eight minutes.

But three minutes before halftime, Phanuwat Jinta equalised to earn the visitors a share of the spoils and leave their opponents with just two wins in their last 13 outings.

 Sunday’s Thai Premier League Results

Ratchaburi 0-2 Buriram United

Sisaket 1-3 Bangkok United

Chiangrai United 2-0 PTT Rayong

Chonburi 2-0 Songkhla United

Army United 1-1 Chainat

DPMM edge Albirex in seven-goal cup thriller

DPMM FC claimed a slim advantage in their Singapore Cup quarter-final clash against Albirex Niigata (S) after recording a 4-3 win in Sunday’s first leg.

It took the Bruneian outfit just five minutes to open the scoring when Roberto Alviz found the back of the net, before Roy O’Donovan made it 2-0 three minutes later.

It then looked as though a rout was on the cards when Rodrigo Tosi added a third for the visitors in the 17th minute, although Albirex did manage to pull one back four minutes after the half-hour mark through a Kazuya Okazaki strike.

The White Swans then further reduced the deficit in the 56th minute when Keisuke Ota struck, before they remarkably pulled level seven minutes later as Kazuki Sakamoto fired home the equaliser.

But just when it looked as though both sides were about to settle for a draw, O’Donovan popped up in injury-time and netted the winner for DPMM to hand them the advantage ahead of next Friday’s second leg.

Albirex Niigata (S): Kenjiro Ogino, Kento Fujihara, Soichiro Tanaka, Norihiro Kawakami, Itsuki Yamada, Koki Akasaka (Shuhei Hotta 84’), Kosuke Matsuda, Keisuke Ota, Kazuya Okazaki, Kento Nagasaki (Kazuya Fukuzaki 88’), Kazuki Sakamoto.

DPMM FC: Wardun Yussof, Joe Gamble, Abdul Aziz Tamit, Boris Raspudic, Azwan Saleh (Sairol Sahari 80’), Awangku Fakharazzi (Adi Said 67’), Rosmin Kamis (Hendra Azam 67’), Roberto Alviz, Azwan Ali, Roy O’Donovan, Rodrigo Tosi.

Muangthong stay top as BEC Tero remain unbeaten

Muangthong United remain top of the Thai Premier League on goal difference after claiming a 1-0 win over TOT at the SCG Stadium on Saturday.

The game was not without controversy however as it initially looked as though TOT were about to hold out for a valuable point, after keeping the hosts at bay for most of the match.

But although there it was initially signalled that there were only going to be four minutes to be added on at the end of the match, play was allowed to continue for much longer.

And in the ninth minute of injury-time, Muangthong found the breakthrough when Jay Bothroyd hit the byline before cutting the ball back for Wuttichai Tathong to sweep home at the near post.

However, the visitors were furious as they believed the ball had gone out before Bothroyd had crossed it, and they allowed their frustrations to get the better of them as Suriya Kupalang was handed his marching orders.

Muangthong remain ahead of second-placed BEC Tero Sasana, who continued their unbeaten start to the campaign with a 3-2 triumph over Suphanburi at the Suphanburi Municipality Stadium.

The Fire Dragons had initially taken a ninth-minute lead when Jaturong Pimkoon burst into the box and sent an emphatic strike into the top corner, but it took the hosts a minute to equalise after Robert Cullen latched onto Decha Sa-ardchom’s perfectly-weighted pass and lashed a shot past Todsaporn Sri-reung at the near post.

A minute after the hour mark, BEC Tero managed to reclaim the lead when Sho Shimoji met Rangsan Viwatchaichok’s right-wing freekick with a glancing header into the bottom corner.

And six minutes later, they edged further ahead after Gilbert Koomson raced through down the right before crossing for Naruphol Ar-Romsawa to smash past a hapless Puthasas Boonpok.

Suphanburi did reduce the deficit in the 78th minute when Bireme Diouf netted with a bullet header from close range but they were just unable to pull level, even though their opponents finished with ten men after Adisorn Promrak was sent off in injury-time.

Over at the PAT Stadium, Singhtarua’s four-game winning run was brought to an abrupt half as they played out a 0-0 draw with Osotspa Saraburi.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Glass claimed a much-needed win after beating bottom side Samut Songkhram 2-0 at the Samut Songkhram Stadium.

Goshi Okubo fired the Glass Rabbits ahead a minute after the half-hour mark when he broke free inside the box, before expertly firing a shot into the far corner from a difficult angle.

Nonetheless, the visitors were unable to make sure of the win until a minute from time when Flavien Michelini found space and cut the ball to the edge of the box, where Pravinwat Boonyong proceeded to drill the ball into the back of the net.

In Saturday’s final game, Air Force Central and Police United played out a 1-1 draw at the Thupatemee Stadium.

It was the hosts who drew first blood on the stroke of halftime after Zezinando’s cross picked out the darting run of Thossaphol Yodchan, who got just enough of a touch on the ball to steer the ball into the bottom corner.

Still, Police went on to claim a share of the spoils in the 50th minute when Norihiro Nishi curled home a freekick on the edge of the box, although their evening ended on a sour note after they had Wutthisak Maneesook sent off in injury-time.

Saturday’s Thai Premier League Results

Air Force Central 1-1 Police United

Samut Songkhram 0-2 Bangkok Glass

Suphanburi 2-3 BEC Tero Sasana

Muangthong United 1-0 TOT

Singhtarua 0-0 Osotspa Saraburi

Ten-man Balestier fight back for cup win over Geylang

Balestier Khalsa produced a resilient fightback to claim a 2-1 win over Geylang International in the first leg of their Singapore Cup quarter-final clash on Saturday.

It was the Eagles who took the lead at the Toa Payoh Stadium after just five minutes after Ridhuan Muhammad broke free down the right and played a dangerous cross into the box, where Hafiz Nor proceeded to fire the ball past Zaiful Nizam and in off the bar.

And things got from bad to worse for Balestier eight minutes before halftime when they found themselves reduced to ten men, after Yusiskandar Yusop was shown a straight red for a dangerous challenge on Franco Chivilo.

But they managed to pull level four minutes after the hour mark when they won a penalty after Joaquin Lopez had handled a goal-bound effort inside the area; Goran Ljubojevic stepping up and clinically dispatching his shot from 12 yards.

And in the 77th minute, Kim Min-ho went on to complete the come-from-behind win for the Tigers when he latched onto Ruhaizad Ismail’s freekick and placed his shot into the top corner.

The result handed Balestier the slimmest of advantages ahead of next Wednesday’s return encounter at the Bedok Stadium.

Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam, Yusiskandar Yusop, Emir Lotinac, Nurullah Hussein, Syed Thaha, Tajeli Salamat, Jonathan Xu (Poh Yi Feng 76’), Zulkiffli Hassim (Ruhaizad Ismail 75’), Park Kang-jin, Kim Min-ho, Goran Ljubojevic (Muhaymin Salim 73’).

Geylang International: Siddiq Durimi, Khairulnizam Jumahat, Kento Fukuda, Yuki Ichikawa, Joaquin Lopez (Jalal 76’), Fabian Kwok, Ridhuan Muhammad, Mustaqim Manzur, Franco Chivilo, Hafiz Nor, Leonel Felice.

Ex-PDRM boss Dollah confirmed as new Malaysia coach

Malaysia’s search for the permanent successor to K. Rajagobal came to an end on Saturday after it was confirmed that Dollah Salleh had been appointed the new coach of the national team.

His appointment was announced by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and ends a six-month hunt for the next Harimau Malaya boss, after Rajagobal departed at the end of 2013 following a disappointing 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign.

Prior to Dollah’s appointment, Malaysia Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee had been handed the reins in a caretaker capacity, although he will now be able to fully devote his attention to his young charges.

The fact that Dollah has been given the nod has raised a few eyebrows given the FAM initially looked determined to appoint a foreign coach, with Philippe Troussier and Zdenek Zeman heavily linked with the vacancy.

But the 50-year-old, who enjoyed legendary status during his playing days, has enjoyed plenty of managerial success in recent years.

In five seasons with Pahang, he led them to promotion to the Malaysia Super League before winning the Malaysia Cup with them last term.

This season, he took charge of PDRM as they booked their place in the top flight after being crowned Premier League champions.

With no qualifiers for the World Cup or Asian Cup on the immediate horizon, Dollah’s first major test will come at the end of the year when Harimau Malaya compete for the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup.

Tampines put one foot in Singapore Cup semi-finals

Tampines Rovers have the advantage over Tanjong Pagar United in the Singapore Cup quarter-finals after claiming a 4-2 win in Friday’s first leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

It was the Stags who drew first blood when they took the lead four minutes before the half-hour mark after Jozef Kaplan unselfishly played Shahdan Sulaiman’s lovely floated pass into the path of Miljan Mrdakovic, who burst past the onrushing Aurelien Herisson before firing into the unguarded net.

But on the stroke of halftime, Tanjong Pagar equalised after Monsef Zerka found space down the left and drilled in a low cross that Firdaus Idros cleverly touched into the bottom corner.

Tampines did manage to reclaim the lead nine minutes into the second half when Mrdakovic ran onto an incisive pass by Ismadi Mukhtar and drilled in a low shot that was initially parried by Herisson, although Jamil Ali caught Ruzaini Zainal unaware and nipped in ahead of him to poke the rebound over the line.

Again, the Jaguars were able to muster a response in the 65th minute when Monsef Zerka coolly sent Justin Pasfield the wrong way from the spot, after Kaplan was adjudged to have tripped Firdaus inside the box.

However, it took Rafi Ali’s charges just four minutes to edge ahead for the third time and it was Jamil who netted once more, running onto Kaplan’s through-pass before sending a sublime first-time lob over Herisson and into the back of the net.

And in the first minute of injury-time, they went on to seal the victory when Kaplan forced his way free inside the box before blasting a low shot home to hand the Stags a two-goal cushion ahead of next Tuesday’s second leg.

Tampines Rovers: Justin Pasfield, Anaz Hadee, Fahrudin Mustafic, Kunihiro Yamashita, Jufri Taha, Jacob Butler, Jozef Kaplan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Jamil Ali (Ang Zhi Wei 87’), Jozef Kaplan, Miljan Mrdakovic (Noh Alam Shah 79’).

Tanjong Pagar United: Aurelien Herisson, Ruzaini Zainal, Ahmad Latiff, Hafiz Osman, Nor Azli Yusoff, Anthony Aymard, Firdaus Idros, Sazali Salleh, Sebastien Etiemble, Monsef Zerka.