Singapore come from behind twice to deny Guam big scalp

Singapore had to come from behind twice on Tuesday evening to prevent falling to an embarrassing defeat after a 2-2 draw with Guam at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

In what proved to be an impressive start by the visitors, they started the brighter of the two sides and carved out a host of chances in the opening exchanges.

Shane Malcolm looked the likeliest source of a Guam goal as he regularly found his way in behind the opposition defence, although he could only fire into the side-netting from a tight angle after rounding Izwan Mahbud in the fifth minute, before having a low shot saved by the Lions keeper four minutes later after skipping past two men.

The hosts had an excellent chance to break the deadlock when Baihakki Khaizan made a darting run to the near post to meet Zulfahmi Arifin’s corner and nodded it towards the far post, although Alexander Lee was perfectly positioned to hack the ball to safety.

But eight minutes before halftime, Matao opened the scoring after Malcolm held the ball up inside the area before sending a low cross into the six-yard box, where Shawn Nicklaw proceeded to nip in ahead of Izwan and stab the ball home.

Nonetheless, the Lions pulled level nine minutes into the second half when Ismadi Mukhtar found space down the right and floated a lovely cross onto the head of Faris Ramli, who made no mistake in planting a firm header past Bijan Gloston.

Still, Guam reclaimed the lead in the 73rd minute and it was a strike worthy of winning any contest; Jason Cunliffe latching onto a throw-in and sending a stunning first-time half volley with the outside of his left foot looping over Izwan and into the far corner.

However, the hosts did managed to respond once more with ten minutes remaining when a short corner routine eventually saw Shahril make his way to the edge of box and float a dangerous delivery for Baihakki to volley into the back of the net.

Singapore did have one final chance to win it in injury-time when Shahril charged through the middle and curled away a shot from the edge of the box, but Gloston produced a brilliant flying save to deny the Lions the victory.

Singapore: Izwan Mahbud, Ismadi Mukhtar, Baihakki Khaizan, Zulfahmi Arifin, Shakir Hamzah, Hariss Harun, Safuwan Baharudin, Sahil Suhaimi (Gabriel Quak 46’), Shahril Ishak, Faris Ramli, Khairul Amri (Shahfiq Ghani 73’).

Guam: Dallas Jaye (Bijan Gloston 46’), Alexander Lee (Min Choi 90’), Mason Grimes, Brandon McDonald, Nathaniel Lee (Micah Paulino 58’), Ryan Guy, Justin Lee (Dylan Naputi 69’), Shawn Nicklaw, Jason Cunliffe, Shane Malcolm (Jan Staman 85’), John Matkin.

Attendance: 1,864

Buriram snap winless league run with Sisaket triumph

Reigning champions Buriram United finally ended a run of three games without victory in the Thai Premier League after beating Sisaket 1-0 on Sunday evening.

After looking like they would be making a dominant start to the new season with a 2-0 win over Port, the Thunder Castle then went on to record three straight draws against Muangthong United, Suphanburi and Chonburi, who were all admittedly stern opposition.

Their run of disappointing results on the domestic stage was in stark contrast to their displays in the AFC Champions League, where they are currently top of Group F with seven points at the halfway stage following wins over Seongnam and Guangzhou R&F, as well as Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Gamba Osaka.

However, they finally got their league campaign back on track at the New I-Mobile Stadium on Sunday, although it initially looked as though they might be denied again after struggling to break down Sisaket for much of the game.

But with seven minutes remaining, Brazilian striker Diogo climbed highest inside the area and headed home a corner to hand the hosts maximum points.

With the victory, Buriram remain one of five sides still unbeaten in the TPL this season and climbed up to sixth spot in the process, although they remain four points behind joint-leaders Army United and Bangkok Glass.

Ceres brush off Stallion to stay perfect in UFL

Ceres maintained their 100 per cent record in the United Football League with a fifth straight win on Sunday after beating Stallion FC 3-0 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Adrian Gallardo got his side going when he nodded them into the lead three minutes before halftime, before the Spaniard doubled their lead with another clinical finish in the 77th minute.

From then on, there was never really any doubt that Ceres would go on to claim the win given the way they were dominating proceedings, but – just for good measure – Juan Luis Guirado met a freekick with a firm header into the back of the net in injury-time to wrap up the three points for them.

The result took Ceres up two spots to third on the table and just three points behind joint-leaders Kaya and Loyola Meralco Sparks, although they do have two games in hand.

In Sunday’s earlier game, Green Archers United picked up their second win of the campaign after thrashing Team Socceroo 5-0.

Robert Canedo opened the scoring for Archers when he netted in the 33rd minute, and they edged further ahead through a Robert Waly Lopez Mendy strike ten minutes into the second half.

Socceroo’s bid to fight their way back into the contest was then dealt a decisive blow when Arnel Casil was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 71st minute, which was followed by a third goal for Green Archers from Jesus Melizza with seven minutes remaining.

And with the numerical advantage, the Archers went on to make it really count as the game winded down with Daniel Del Rio and Melizza adding further strikes in the final two minutes to complete the rout.

Sunday’s United Football League Results

Team Socceroo 0-5 Green Archers United

Stallion FC 0-3 Ceres

LIONSXII hit SPA for four; Pahang through to quarters

LIONSXII booked their place in the Malaysia FA Cup quarter-finals in emphatic fashion on Saturday after recording a 4-0 Round of 16 win over SPA FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Madhu Mohana got the hosts on their way in the 17th minute when he was picked out unmarked inside the area by Gabriel Quak’s excellent corner, and he made no mistake in sending a fierce volley into the back of the net.

Three minutes before the half-hour mark, they doubled their tally after Khairul Amri turned Aslam Haja Najmudeen, before firing away a deflected shot from a tight angle that looped over Mahathir Mohammad and into the far corner.

The LIONSXII then put the result beyond doubt in the 58th minute when they benefitted from another deflection; Quak latching onto Firdaus Kasman’s neat layoff and cutting onto his left foot before his shot spun off a defender and sailed over a hapless Mahathir.

And just for good measure, the Singaporean outfit added a fourth with six minutes remaining after searching freekick by Izzdin Shafiq to the back post found Amri, who made no mistake in deftly placing his shot through Mahathir’s legs.

With the result, the LIONSXII set up a reunion with former heroes Shahril Ishak and Baihakki Khaizan in what is already shaping up to be an enticing last-eight clash with Johor Darul Ta’zim II.

In Saturday’s other Round of 16 clash, Pahang toiled to a 2-1 win over MISC-MIFA at the Darulmakmur Stadium and will now meet Penang in the next round.

Gopinathan and Fauzi Roslan netted second-half goals that were ultimately enough to win it for Tok Gajah, although the visitors did manage to grab an injury-time consolation through a strike from S. Harivarman.

Saturday’s Malaysia FA Cup Round of 16 Results

LIONSXII 4-0 SPA FC

Pahang 2-1 MISC-MIFA

Ramdani strikes late to earn Home point at DPMM

Kamel Ramdani grabbed an 84th-minute equaliser to help Home United force a 2-2 draw against DPMM FC at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on Saturday.

It was the visitors who took the lead on the half-hour mark when Ken Ilso notched his fourth goal of the campaign, unleashing a left-footed strike on the turn that sailed past Wardun Yussof and into the back of the net.

But right on the stroke of halftime, Rafael Ramazotti also continued his blistering run of scoring form when he nodded the ball into the unguarded net, after Hyrulnizam Juma’at had failed to cleanly gather a long-range freekick from Boris Raspudic.

Ramazotti then put DPMM ahead on the hour mark when scored his second of the evening – and sixth goal of the season – meeting Sairol Sahari’s freekick with a firm header.

However, just when it looked as though the Bruneian outfit would hold out to claim all three points, Kamel Ramdani turned the ball home from close range after the hosts were unable to clear their lines from a freekick, earning Home a share of the spoils in the process.

Brunei DPMM FC Lineup: Wardun Yussof, Sairol Sahari, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Azwan Saleh, Joe Gamble, Hendra Azam (Yura Indera Putera 80’), Aminuddin Zakwan, Helmi Zambin, Craig Fagan (Adi Said 37’), Rafael Ramazotti.

Home United Lineup: Hyrulnizam Juma’at, Ang Zhiwei, Abdil Qaiyyim, Noh Rahman, Redzwan Atan (Fazli Ayob 70’), Yasir Hanapi (Nur Hizami 81’), Song Ui-young, Ambroise Begue (Stanely Ng 57’), Kamel Ramdani, Sirina Camara, Ken Ilso.

Loyola down Global; Kaya remain top of the UFL

Loyola Meralco Sparks emerged victorious over fierce rivals Global on Saturday evening after recording a 1-0 win in the United Football League.

The decider at the Rizal Memorial Stadium arrived two minutes before the half-hour mark, when Phil Younghusband was played in by Simon Greatwich and clinically drilled his shot into the bottom corner.

The victory was enough to keep the Sparks level on 18 points with league leaders Kaya, who got back to winning ways following a 6-2 triumph over Pachanga Diliman.

Although it was Kaya who fell behind to Jung Jun-hyuk’s seventh-minute opener, they quickly overturned the deficit when Younousse Yaogo equalised in the 13th minute, before OJ Porteria struck five minutes later.

It was then Pachanga’s turn to pull level through a Lee Jeong-woo strike on the half-hour mark but Louis Clark restored his side’s lead three minutes before the break, and the English striker was on target once more in the 49th minute.

Any hopes of a Pachanga comeback were then effectively ended as Christian Ayew added a fifth nine minutes from time, before doubling his tally a minute later to complete the rout for Kaya.

In Saturday’s first match, Manila Jeepney came from behind twice to force a 2-2 draw against Philippine Army GTI.

Army twice edged ahead through strikes from Luisito Brillantes and Woo Song, although Martin Weidmar and Peter Fadrigalan were both able to respond on both occasions to earn their side a share of the spoils.

Saturday’s United Football League Results

Manila Jeepney 2-2 Philippine Army GTI

Pachanga Diliman 2-6 Kaya

Loyola Meralco Sparks 1-0 Global

Albirex edge Balestier to claim second straight triumph

Albirex Niigata (S) made it two wins in a row in the S.League on Friday evening after toiling to a 1-0 win over ten-man Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The only goal of the game came in the 15th minute through a moment of brilliance from Shotaro Ihata, who pounced on a loose ball 25 yards out from goal and – on the turn – unleashed a first-time volley that looped over Zaiful Nizam and into the back of the net.

However, in what turned out to be an entertaining encounter, both sides had their fair share of chances to add to the scoreline but were just unable to find the killer touch in front of goal.

Robert Pericic was unlucky not to fire Balestier level in the 21st minute when he turned Shun Inaba before firing away a long-range shot that had Yosuke Nozawa beaten all ends up, only to see it come back off the bar.

A minute later, the woodwork came to the Tigers’ rescue when Atsushi Kawata latched onto Rion Taki’s cut-back and volleyed the ball into the post.

Pericic, who was shaping up as his side’s likeliest source for an equaliser, had another chance two minutes before the half-hour mark after being picked out by an incisive pass from Tarik Cmajcanin, but he could only curl a shot agonisingly wide of the mark.

And the Croat really should have made it 1-1 in the 48th minute after a lovely run and pass by Ignatius Ang carved out an opening for him, although he was again unable to get enough bend on his effort to place it back inside the far post.

It was then Albirex’s turn to threaten as they went in search for a second goal to kill off the contest; Taki racing through two minutes before the hour mark after a lovely over-the-top from Fumiya Kogure but being denied in a one-on-one situation by Zaiful.

The Tigers custodian had to be alert again in the 74th minute when he made a smart save down low to deny Kawata, who had broken free after racing onto a long ball and turning his opponent.

It looked like it was only a matter of time before the White Swans edged further ahead as Kogure fired away a 25-yard piledriver after being left in acres of space, but Zaiful produced a flying save to tip it to safety.

Nonetheless, it mattered little for Albirex as they ultimately held out for the three points, which was enough to tentatively take them up to second on the table.

Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam, Yusiskandar Yusop (Jonathan Xu 67’), Hanafi Salleh, Emir Lotinac, Ho Wai Loon, Poh Yi Feng, Zulkiffli Hassim (Fadhil Noh 60’), Ignatius Ang (Ahmad Syahir 75’), Tarik Cmajcanin, Miroslav Kristic, Robert Pericic.

Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa, Mikiya Yamada, Takahiro Saito, Kento Fujihara, Itsuki Yamada, Hikaru Mizuno, Shun Inaba, Fumiya Kogure, Atsushi Kawata, Rion Taki (Rui Kumada 72’), Shotaro Ihata (Kento Nagasaki 56’).

Singapore U-23s handed shock defeat by Cambodia U-22s

Singapore Under-23’s preparations for the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were handed a real blow on Thursday after they were beaten 3-1 by Cambodia Under-22.

The Lions got off to a dream start at the Jalan Besar Stadium when they took the lead after just two minutes; Sahil Suhaimi beating the offside trap to latch onto Shahfiq Ghani’s visionary over-the-top pass before emphatically firing into the back of the net.

However, the visitors shot themselves in the foot a minute before the break when Shakir Hamzah was too casual inside his own area and lost possession to Phanny Y Ratha, who made no mistake in firing past an exposed Syazwan Buhari.

Things got from bad to worse for the hosts in the 67th minute when they conceded a penalty – and were also reduced to ten men – after Shakir Hamzah committed a last-man foul Prak Mony Udom, who picked himself up and slotted the resultant spot-kick into the bottom corner.

And in the 72nd minute, the Royal Khmers wrapped up the win when Samoeun Pidor broke free inside the box after an incisive pass from Mony Udom, before coolly finishing past Syazwan.

To add insult to injury, Singapore finished the game with nine men when Sheikh Abdul Hadi was also shown a straight red for an off-the-ball altercation with an opponent.

Speaking after the game, Singapore U-23 boss Aide Iskandar admitted Thursday’s defeat was disappointing but called for patience ahead of the upcoming SEA Games.

“We can have no excuses,” he said. “Today’s [Thursday’s] performance was not good enough.

“The penalty was the turning point at 1-1, but we have to accept it. It was never going to be easy going a goal down and a man down from that penalty, but give credit to Cambodia – they came with a game plan and it worked.

“For me, the fans have every right to shout whatever they want to, but they have to realise this is not the real tournament yet.

“I have to apologise to the fans who came down and were disappointed. But rest assured we are working hard to make sure we have a good SEA Games.

“I’m still committed and I am confident the boys will put on a good showing.”

Meanwhile, Cambodia boss Lee Tae-hoon was pleased with his charges even though he feels they were a bit fortunate on the night.

“I told my players to just play with confidence,” the South Korean said. “They worked very hard and they followed instructions well.

“I think we got the three goals because Singapore made mistakes so I think we got quite lucky.”

Singapore U-23: Syazwan Buhari, Fadli Kamis (Al-Qaasimy Rahman 60’), Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Shakir Hamzah, Farhan Rahmat (Safirul Sulaiman 60’), M. Anumanthan (Pravin Gunasegaran 90’), Amirul Adli (Shamil Sharif 53’, Taufiq Muqminin 78’), Adam Swandi (Shameer Aziq 51’), Shahfiq Ghani (Amy Recha 68’), Iqbal Hussain (Christopher van Huizen 53’), Sahil Suhaimi (Irfan Fandi 51’).

Cambodia U-22: Prak Mony Phirun, San Thideth (Ngoy Srin 31’), Nub Tola (Chheng Meng 73’), Nen Sothearoth (Ly Arifin 84’), Prak Chanratana, Moung Makara (Samoeun Pidor 61’), Hoy Phallin (Soeuy Visal 54’), Ol Ravy (Sary Matnorotin 25’, Op Kamol 87’), Rous Samoeun, Phanny Y Ratha (Tit Dina 73’), Chan Vathanaka (Prak Mony Udom 61’).

Buriram stay unbeaten after fighting back for Gamba draw

Buriram United remain at the top of Group F in the AFC Champions League after coming from behind to play out a 1-1 draw with Gamba Osaka on Wednesday.

It was the Japanese outfit who took the lead at the Osaka Expo ’70 Stadium in the 39th minute when Hiroyuki Abe opened the scoring, but Theerathon Bunmathan equalised with a stunning freekick two minutes after the hour mark to earn Buriram a share of the spoils.

After Seongnam had moved level at the top of the standings by beating Guangzhou R&F 1-0 on Tuesday, the draw in Japan was enough to hand the Thai Premier League giants back a one-point lead at the halfway mark of the group stage.

Having claimed impressive victories over Seongnam and Guangzhou in their opening two matches,  the Thunder Castle entered Wednesday’s clash looking to maintain their perfect record against a Gamba side that had yet to pick up any points.

The visitors had an excellent chance to break the deadlock after four minutes when Diogo climbed well inside the area to meet a lovely freekick from Suchao Nutnum, only to send his header wide of the mark.

Four minutes later, they came close again after brilliant improvisation by Prakit Deeprom saw him acrobatically send a mid-air volley looping towards goal, but Masaaki Higashiguchi raced back in time to claw it to safety.

However, Gamba did eventually find their rhythm and threatened for the first time when Abe found space on the edge of the box and rifled away a low shot that Sivaruck Tedsungnoen managed to push onto the bar.

As the half wore on, the hosts really began to dominate proceedings and they duly opened the scoring six minutes before halftime after good work by Patric saw him charge down the right and pick out Takashi Usami with a low cross.

Although Sivaruck did well to keep out the ex-Bayern Munich man’s initial effort, there was little he could do to prevent Abe from pouncing on the rebound and firing a shot into the unguarded net.

Still, Buriram refused to be deterred by falling behind and raised their efforts after the break; Diogo wasting a half-chance in the 56th minute when he unleashed a snapshot from outside the area that safely skipped past the near post.

But just six minutes later, the equaliser finally arrived when Theerathon lined up a freekick 25 yards out from goal, and proceeded to send a spectacular curling effort that sailed past Higashiguchi’s despairing dive and dipped into the top corner.

The visitors were then unlucky not to edge ahead from another set-piece situation in the 74th minute and this time it was captain Suchao Nutnum who unleashed a long-range effort, only to see it bounce off the bar and out to safety.

As the game entered its closing stages, Gamba began to push more and more men forward in search of the winner, but it was the Thunder Castle who looked more dangerous on the counter.

Theerathon could have turned provider in the 79th minute when he played a brilliant through-pass to release Gilberto Macena, who raced through down the left but could only fire into the side-netting from a tight angle.

And four minutes from time, Buriram had one final chance to steal the win when Macena broke free on the left once more and clipped a dangerous cross into the six-yard box; Diogo getting in ahead of Higashiguchi but the Brazilian was just unable to divert the ball towards the gaping goal.

In the end, both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils when the final whistle blew shortly after, but Thunder Castle boss Alexandre Gama is likely to be satisfied with the result which keeps his side unbeaten in the competition and keeps them firmly on course for the knockout round.

Gamba Osaka: Masaaki Higashiguchi, Koki Yonekura, Daiki Niwa, Keisuke Iwashita, Oh Jae-suk (Hiroki Fujihara 60’), Hiroyuki Abe, Yasuhito Endo, Tomokazu Myojin, Kotari Omori (Lins 74’), Patric, Takashi Usami (Shingo Akamine 81’).

Buriram United: Sivaruck Tedsungnoen, Chitipat Tanklang, Andres Tunez, Korawit Namwiset, Narubodin Weerawatnodom (Suree Sukha 61’), Prakit Deeprom (Surat Sukha 73’), Suchao Nutnum, Go Seul-ki, Theerathon Bunmathan, Gilberto Macena, Diogo.

Pahang handed first AFC defeat; victories for Persib, Ayeyawady

Malaysia Super League outfit Pahang’s unbeaten start in the 2015 AFC Cup came to an end on Wednesday after they were beaten 1-0 by Hong Kong’s South China in Group G.

The only goal of the game at the Darulmakmur Stadium arrived after 13 minutes when Chan Siu Ki received a neat past from Philip Chan with his back to goal, before swivelling and smashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Despite the support of their home crowd, Pahang rarely threatened – apart from a couple of threatening runs by R. Gopinathan – and looked bereft of ideas in the attacking third, clearly missing the foreign strike duo of Dickson Nwakaeme and Matias Conti.

The result means South China stay top with a maximum nine points from their opening three matches, while Tok Gajah remain second but are now only a point behind Myanmar’s Yadanarbon.

After starting their campaign with two straight defeats, Yadanarbon are finally off the mark after recording a comfortable 2-0 triumph over United Football League champions Global at the Mandalarthiri Stadium.

Following a goalless first half, Djedje Maximin broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute as he floated a lovely pass out right to find Thet Naing, before racing into the box to meet his return cross and send a firm first-time shot into the back of the net.

And in injury-time, the hosts went on to wrap up the three points after Sithu Aung broke free inside the area and squared the ball for Win Htay Kyaw, who was left with the simple task of prodding the ball over the line with his knee.

Yadanarbon’s fellow Myanmar National League outfit – Ayeyawady United – also produced an impressive display on Wednesday to beat New Radiant 3-0 at the National Football Stadium and move second in Group H.

Edison Fonseca scored with a close-range header to put the visitors ahead in the 34th minute, before Riste Naumov netted twice in the final five minutes to make sure of the win for Ayeyawady.

The other match in the group saw Indonesia Super League giants Persib Bandung move two points clear at the top after claiming a hard-fought 1-0 win over Laotian side Lao Toyota.

The winner arrived in the 20th minute after terrific play from Supardi Nasir saw him skip past two men before playing a lovely through-pass into the path of Tantan, who drew out the onrushing Chanthakard Syenpongsai before squaring the ball to leave Atep with an easy tap-in at the far post.

Wednesday’s AFC Cup Results

Group G

Yadanarbon 2-0 Global

Pahang 0-1 South China

Group H

Persib Bandung 1-0 Lao Toyota

New Radiant 0-3 Ayeyawady United