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

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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’).