DPMM stunned by Balestier; Albirex move top of S.League

DPMM FC were handed their first defeat of the S.League season after falling to a shock 2-1 loss to Balestier Khalsa at the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on Friday evening.

The visitors broke the deadlock when Miroslav Kristic scored from the penalty spot, although there was no shortage of controversy as he was ordered to retake his kick after his initial effort had been saved by Wardun Yussof.

And it then looked as though Balestier were cruising to victory when Robert Pericic made it 2-0 two minutes after halftime.

Rafael Ramazotti did manage to pull one back in the 72nd minute when he notched his ninth goal of the campaign although DPMM were just unable to find an equaliser, allowing the Tigers to hold out for an impressive win.

In Friday’s other game, Albirex Niigata (S) tentatively moved top of the table after recording a 2-1 win over Hougang United at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The White Swans opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Shotaro Ihata found space on the edge of the box and floated a cross to Rui Kumada, who got enough on his header to steer it past Ridhuan Barudin despite the goalkeeper getting a touch onto it.

But three minutes after the half-hour mark, Hougang equalised after Kunihiro Yamashita broke free inside the box to meet Shunsuke Nakatake’s pinpoint corner and made no mistake in powering a header into the back of the net.

Nonetheless, it was Albirex who went on to claim maximum points in the end as they grabbed the winner in the 52nd minute; Hikaru Mizuno pouncing on a loose ball and clinically finding the bottom corner with a cool finish to extend his side’s unbeaten run to seven games.

The result allowed the White Swans to move one point clear at the league summit ahead of second-placed Warriors FC’s game against Geylang International on Saturday, while struggling Hougang are still looking for their first win in 2015 after nine games.

Friday’s S.League Results

Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Hougang United

DPMM FC 1-2 Balestier Khalsa

DPMM down S.League leaders Warriors to stay unbeaten

DPMM FC remain unbeaten in the 2015 S.League season after recording a 3-1 win over leaders Warriors FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday evening.

The Bruneian outfit took the lead after seven minutes when Rafael Ramazotti towered above a sea of players to meet Azwan Ali’s right-wing freekick, before powering a header past Daniel Ong from eight yards out.

Just four minutes later, DPMM doubled their lead after Azwan intercepted a stray pass from Kevin McCann and slipped a lovely pass through to Ramazotti, who made no mistake in lifting his shot past the onrushing Ong.

Warriors did manage to reduce the deficit three minutes before the hour mark through a Nicolas Velez strike; the Argentine finding space just inside the box following a short corner routine before curling a lovely shot into the far corner.

Both sides were then reduced to ten men in the 71st minute when Velez and DPMM midfielder Joe Gamble were sent off for an off-the-ball altercation, after players from both sides had clashed following a poor challenge by McCann on Paulo Sergio.

From then on, it was always going to be tough for the hosts in their bid for an equaliser, and it was their opponents who looked the likelier to add to their tally as gaps began to appear in the Warriors backline.

And in injury-time, DPMM went on to seal the win when they were Sergio confidently sent Ong the wrong way from the penalty spot, after the Portuguese had been brought down by Ong inside the area.

Despite the result, the Warriors remain top of the table but are now only two points ahead of Albirex Niigata (S) and third-placed DPMM, who still have two games in hand.

Warriors FC: Daniel Ong, Nur Asyidiq (Fazli Jaffar 90’), Daniel Bennett, Marin Vidosevic, Irwan Shah, Thomas Beattie (Hafiz Rahim 46’), Emmeric Ong (Shi Jiayi 67’), Kevin McCann, Nicolas Velez, Miroslav Pejic, Fazrul Nawaz.

DPMM FC: Wardun Yussof, Aminuddin Zakwan, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Sairol Sahari, Helmi Zambin (Ak Yura Indera Putera 62’), Joe Gamble, Hendra Azam (Rosmin Kamis 80’), Azwan Ali, Paulo Sergio, Rafael Ramazotti.

Spirited Harimau Muda fight back for Hougang draw

Ten-man Harimau Muda produced a determined display on Thursday to come from behind twice and force a 3-3 draw against Hougang United in the S.League.

It was the Cheetahs who got off to a dream start at the Hougang Stadium as they took the lead after nine minutes, when Nurhilmi Jasni climbed high to meet Shunsuke Nakatake’s corner and firmly nodded the ball past Ramdhan Hamid.

Eight minutes later, it was 2-0 when the hosts made the most of another set-piece situation; Kunihiro Yamashita meeting another excellent delivery by Nakatake and sending a powerful header into the back of the net.

Things got from bad to worse for Harimau Muda in the 22nd minute when they were reduced to ten men, after Ramdhan Hamid was shown a straight red for handling the ball outside the box.

But on the stroke of halftime, they were handed a lifeline when referee Nathan Chan awarded them a penalty after Faiz Salleh was penalised for handball inside the area, paving the way for Amirul Hisyam to fire home from 12 yards and pull one back for his side.

Still, Hougang continued to remain in control of proceedings and they reclaimed their two-goal cushion in the 69th minute with a brilliant team goal.

Receiving possession down the left, Manato Takahashi left his opponent for dead before crossing to Chupe, who unselfishly laid a first-time pass back to the edge of the area for Fairoz Hasan to blast past Ilham Amirullah.

Nonetheless, the visitors were awarded another spot-kick ten minutes later when a poor back-header by Lau Meng Meng forced Basil Chan to come off his line, and the goalkeeper was only able to hack down Syazwan Andik in a 50-50 challenge.

This time, it was Shahrul Igwan Samsudin who stepped up to the spot but he too showed no signs of nerves as he clinically found the bottom corner to reduce the deficit.

And four minutes from time, the remarkable comeback was completed when Amirul lined up a freekick down the right and curled a dangerous cross inside the area, where Adam Nor Azlin proceeded to tower above a sea of players and send an unstoppable header into the bottom corner to force the draw.

Despite failing to extend their winning streak, the result means Harimau Muda are now unbeaten in their last four matches and they are only behind fourth-placed Balestier Khalsa on goal difference.

Meanwhile, the Cheetahs’ woes continue as they remain winless after eight matches and are only above bottom side Courts Young Lions in the table, and already the pressure is mounting on coach Salim Moin.

Hougang United: Basil Chan, Lau Meng Meng, Kenneth Chang, Kunihiro Yamashita, Faiz Salleh, Renshi Yamaguchi, Shunsuke Nakatake, Nurhilmi Jasni, Muhaymin Salim (Fairoz Hasan 62’), Manato Takahasi, Chupe (Fareez Farhan 80’).

Harimau Muda: Ramdhan Hamid, Amirul Ikmal (Ilham Amirullah 24’), Annas Rahmat, Wan Ahmad Amirzafran, Nazirul Naim, D. Kenny Pallraj, Amirul Hisyam, Shahrul Igwam Samsudin (Syawal Nordin 90’), Adam Nor Azlin, Ridzuan Abdunloh (Syazwan Andik 71’), Syafwan Syahlan.

Tampines denied late on by Balestier; Albirex held by Home

Tampines Rovers went a third game without victory in the S.League on Wednesday after being held to a 1-1 draw by Balestier Khalsa at the Toa Payoh Stadium.

The Stags were initially on course for victory after taking the lead three minutes before the half-hour mark, when Rodrigo Tosi climbed highest inside the box to head home a Roberto Alviz freekick.

But with two minutes remaining, Balestier were awarded a penalty after Zulfadli Zainal Abidin was penalised for handball inside the area, paving the way for Miroslav Kristic to fire home the equaliser from 12 yards out.

The result means did however end the Stags’ two-game losing streak following consecutive 3-2 defeats to Geylang International and Warriors FC, although they remain sixth on the table and are eight points behind leaders Warriors FC.

Over at the Yishun Stadium, Albirex Niigata (S) saw their five-game winning run finally come to an end as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Home United.

In an evenly-contested clash, it was the White Swans who arguably came closest to grabbing the win but Kento Nagasaki and Fumiya Kogure both had goal-bound efforts expertly kept out by Hyrulnizam Juma’at, while Rion Taki was unlucky to drill a low shot off the foot of the post in the second half.

Home also threatened with Ang Zhiwei coming close inside the opening 20 minutes when he caught Yosuke Nozawa out of position with a clever lob, only for Kento Fujihara to race back in time to head off the line.

In the end, both teams just lacked a cutting edge in the final third and ultimately had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Wednesday’s S.League Results

Balestier Khalsa 1-1 Tampines Rovers

Home United 0-0 Albirex Niigata (S)

Warriors fight back to go top; three straight wins for Harimau

Warriors FC moved top of the S.League on Monday after coming from behind to record a 2-1 win over Courts Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

It was Young Lions who drew first blood in the 23rd minute after Adam Swandi dispossessed Daniel Bennett and made his way into the area, before clinically slotting his shot into the far corner.

But in the 71st minute, the visitors equalised after Miroslav Pejic found space at the far post to head home a Marin Vidosevic cross for his first goal of the campaign.

And just five minutes later, the comeback was completed when Pejic cleverly brought down Nicolas Velez’s left-wing delivery on his chest before finishing past Syazwan Buhari to win it for his side.

The result was enough to send Warriors top of the table with a three-point lead over Albirex Niigata (S), although third-placed DPMM FC still have two games in hand and could eventually move to the summit.

Meanwhile, Harimau Muda continued their recent resurgence as they recorded a third straight win after beating Geylang International 2-1 at the Hang Jebat Stadium.

Ridzuan Abdunloh fired the Young Tigers in front after just nine minutes when he converted from the penalty spot, after Yuki Ichikawa had needlessly dragged Syafwan Syahlan down inside the area.

Four minutes later, it was 2-0 with Ichikawa the main culprit once more – sending a clearance straight to Akhir Bahari, who immediately spotted Yazid Yasin off his line and proceeded to send a perfectly-weighted lob into the unguarded net.

The visitors were able to reduce the deficit on the stroke of halftime when Jozef Kaplan lined up a freekick on the edge of the box, and sent a scorching effort past Ramdhan Hamid into the top corner.

Nonetheless, Geylang never really looked like threatening their opponents as they lacked any real endeavour and guile, allowing Harimau Muda to hold out for a well-deserved triumph.

Monday’s S.League Results

Courts Young Lions 1-2 Warriors FC

Harimau Muda 2-1 Geylang International

Balestier get back to winning ways after downing Hougang

Balestier Khalsa notched their third win of the 2015 S.League campaign on Saturday evening after recording a hard-fought 1-0 win over Hougang United at the Hougang Stadium.

It initially looked as though the Tigers would have to settle for a share of the spoils after missing a host of excellent chances throughout the match.

Ivan Pericic was the biggest culprit as he missed a gilt-edged opportunity a minute after the half-hour mark, heading over despite having the entire goal to aim for after Basil Chan had failed to deal with Tarik Cmajcanin’s dangerous freekick.

Hougang did have their chances too as Fareez Farhan threatened in the 41st minute with a blistering 30-yard drive that sailed just over, before Zaiful Nizam showed clean hands to keep out a firm drive from Shunsuke Nakatake four minutes before the hour mark.

Pericic wasted another good opening in the 67th minute when he headed over from inside the six-yard box, after being picked out by Jonathan Xu’s left-wing delivery, before the Cheetahs were also guilty of profligacy; Matthew Abraham somehow scuffing his shot wide from a few yards out after finding himself unmarked inside the box.

But with nine minutes remaining, the breakthrough did finally arrive when Ignatius Ang found space on the left and did well to drill a low cross into the box, where Miroslav Kristic proceeded to fire a shot past Chan into the bottom corner to win it for Balestier.

Hougang United: Basil Chan, Faizal Amir, Yuki Uchiyama, Kunihiro Yamashita, Lau Meng Meng, Fareez Farhan (Fairoz Hasan 64’), Shunsuke Nakatake, Nurhilmi Jasni, Faiz Salleh (Matthew Abraham 64’), Manato Takahashi, Chupe (Kenneth Chang 85’).

Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam, Ahmad Syahir, Igor Cerina, Nurullah Hussein, Ho Wai Loon, Tarik Cmajcanin, Emir Lotinac, Jonathan Xu (Ridwan Jamil 74’), Zulkiffli Hassim (Ignatius Ang 74’), Robert Pericic, Miroslav Kristic.

Spirited Warriors come from behind to down Tampines

Defending champions Warriors FC produced a spirited display in the S.League on Friday to come from behind twice and beat Tampines Rovers 3-2 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

It was the Stags who drew first blood after 21 minutes when Rodrigo Tosi played an incisive pass to release Firdaus Idros, who unselfishly squared the ball past Daniel Ong to leave Indra Sahdan Daud with the simplest of tap-ins.

But right on the stroke of halftime, Warriors pulled level after Miroslav Pejic found space on the right and floated a good cross into the box, where Fazrul Nawaz was on hand to send a glancing header into the bottom corner.

However, Tampines managed to reclaim the lead seven minutes into the second half when Roberto Alviz latched onto Indra’s visionary through-ball and advanced into the box, before crossing for Tosi to finish past Ong from a couple of yards out.

Still, Alex Weaver’s charges refused to give in and equalised again in the 72nd minute; Hafiz Rahim playing a brilliant defence-splitting pass to pick out the run of Nicolas Velez, who made no mistake in slotting his shot into the bottom corner.

And with seven minutes remaining, Warriors went on to complete the remarkable comeback after Velez broke free down the right and cleverly lobbed the ball into the path of Fazrul, who volleyed away a powerful shot – despite Joey Sim getting a hand to it – into the back of the net to win it for his side.

The victory also means Warriors moved up to second on the table and level on points with leaders Albirex Niigata (S) although they have a game in hand, while Tampines remain in fifth and are six points off the pace.

In Friday’s other game, Harimau Muda notched their second win on the trot after beating Home United 1-0 at the Hang Jebat Stadium.

It looked as though a draw was on the cards after neither side were able to find the breakthrough for much of the 90 minutes.

But in the final minute, Syafwan Syahlan found space inside the box and headed home a Shahrul Igwan Samsudin cross to hand the Young Tigers maximum points.

Tampines Rovers: Joey Sim, Ismadi Mukhtar, Predrag Pocuca, Eddy Viator, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Fahrudin Mustafic (Shaiful Esah 77’), Fabian Kwok, Roberto Alviz, Indra Sahdan Daud (Noh Alam Shah 63’), Firdaus Idros (Aqhari Abdullah 70’), Rodrigo Tosi.

Warriors FC: Daniel Ong, Nur Asyidiq, Daniel Bennett, Marin Vidosevic, Irwan Shah (Syaqir Sulaiman 88’), Emmeric Ong (Thomas Beattie 71’), Kevin McCann, Miroslav Pejic, Hafiz Rahim, Nicolas Velez (Fazli Jaffar 90’), Fazrul Nawaz.

DPMM continue S.League charge with Geylang triumph

DPMM FC maintained their unbeaten start to the 2015 S.League campaign on Thursday after recording a hard-fought 1-0 win over Geylang International at the Bedok Stadium.

For the second game running, new signing Paulo Sergio was their hero as he scored with nine minutes remaining to hand his side maximum points, after they had spent much of the match struggling to find a way past the stubborn opposition defence.

The result, DPMM’s fourth in five matches, was enough to send them second on the table and just two points behind leaders Albirex Niigata (S), and they still have two games in hand.

Meanwhile, Geylang have every reason to feel hard done by given the amount of endeavour and spirit they had displayed, although there can be no denying that if any team deserved to win, it would have been their opponents.

The visitors got off to a bright start and threatened after nine minutes when Rafael Ramazotti met Joe Gamble’s freekick with a deft header, but Yazid Yasin did well to scramble across and push it wide.

From the resultant corner, it was Brian McLean’s turn to test Yazid when he met Hendra Azam’s delivery at the near post and nodded it towards goal, but the Eagles custodian was once again equal to the task.

But after a shaky start, Geylang did gradually find their rhythm and had a half-chance in the 21st minute when Bruno Castanheira burst through after seizing upon a poor touch by McLean, only for Boris Raspudic to race back and block his path as he was about to pull the trigger.

The hosts had an even better opportunity a minute before halftime as Bruno played a slide-rule pass to release Jozef Kaplan, but McLean was able to make a vital block before the Slovak could threaten Wardun Yussof’s goal.

DPMM were then extremely unlucky not to break the deadlock two minutes into the second half when they were denied by the woodwork; Azwan Ali’s 40-yard freekick missing its intended target in Ramazotti but taking a wicked bounce and appearing to catch Yazid out before coming back off the bar.

Still, the Bruneian outfit continued to push forward but the Eagles continued to stand firm, with Kento Fukuda impressively keeping Ramazotti quiet for much of their duel, while Hafiz Osman was always perfectly positioned to clear numerous deliveries into the box.

Yazid was also turning back the years with an inspired display and he continued to keep the visitors at bay, producing a couple of smart saves at his near post to keep out snapshots from Sergio and Azwan.

Nonetheless, with nine minutes remaining, DPMM finally found the breakthrough when Sergio, who had netted twice on debut in a 3-2 win over Hougang, found space inside the area.

Despite being surrounded by a sea of players, the Portuguese managed to wriggle free to create just a yard of space, before rifling away a low shot that beat Yazid and made its way into the bottom corner.

Now in possession of the lead, the visitors had no problems in playing out the remainder of the contest to hold out for the win, which keeps them firmly on course for the top of the table.

Geylang International: Yazid Yasin, Anaz Hadee (Huzaifah Aziz 90’), Yuki Ichikawa, Hafiz Osman, Kento Fukuda, Syed Thaha (Shawal Anuar 88’), Khairulnizam Jumahat, Tatsuro Inui, Jozef Kaplan, Hafiz Nor, Bruno Castanheira.

DPMM FC: Wardun Yussof, Aminuddin Zakwan, Boris Raspudic, Brian McLean, Sairol Sahari (Helmi Zambin 84’), Azwan Ali, Joe Gamble, Hendra Azam (Rosmin Kamis 89’), Najib Tarif (Azwan Saleh 78’), Paulo Sergio, Rafael Ramazotti.

Albirex stay top of S.League after seeing off Young Lions

Albirex Niigata (S) tentatively stretched their lead at the top of the S.League to three points on Wednesday after recording a 2-0 win over Courts Young Lions at the Jurong East Stadium.

The White Swans broke the deadlock after 11 minutes when Kento Nagasaki’s right-wing cross was played by Shotaro Ihata back into the path of Rion Taki, who clinically dispatched a first-time shot into the bottom corner.

And seven minutes after the half-hour mark, the 22-year-old struck again when he showed good strength and pace to burst past Al-Qaasimy Rahman down the left, before beating Syazwan Buhari from a tight angle, which ultimately proved enough to hand his side maximum points.

The result was Albirex’s fifth consecutive win and they have also not conceded in the same time, further enhancing their claims of being genuine title contenders this season.

On the other hand, Young Lions are still looking for their first win in 2015 and remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just one point from five outings.

Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa, Mikiya Yamada, Takahiro Saito, Kento Fujihara, Itsuki Yamada, Hikaru Mizuno, Shun Inaba, Fumiya Kogure (Yusuke Mukai 90’), Kento Nagasaki, Rion Taki, Shotaro Ihata (Rui Kumada 56’).

Courts Young Lions: Syazwan Buhari, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, M. Anumanthan, Amirul Adli, Fadli Kamis, Afiq Noor (Taufiq Muqminin 80’), Pravin Gunasagaran (Shameer Aziq 39’), Adam Swandi, Shahfiq Ghani, Safirul Sulaiman, Amy Recha (Shamil Sharif 59’).

Aide names provisional Singapore squad for SEA Games

Singapore Under-23 coach Aide Iskandar named his 30-man provisional squad for the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Wednesday evening.

As expected, the bulk of the roster comes from Aide’s Courts Young Lions side, with 21 players from the S.League outfit having been called up.

However, four men from Malaysia Super League outfit LIONSXII were also named, including full internationals Faris Ramli and Sahil Suhaimi, who both also featured in last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup.

Furthermore, a total of seven players were part of the side that won the bronze medal in Myanmar back in 2013, including Faris, Sahil, Shahfiq Ghani and Al-Qaasimy Rahman.

There were also places for five not currently plying their trade with either of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) sides LIONSXII and Young Lions, with the likes of Balestier Khalsa duo Nurullah Hussein and Ho Wai Loon, as well as Home United winger Stanely Ng, all rewarded for their impressive starts to 2015.

The draw for the SEA Games also took place on Wednesday with Singapore being drawn in Group A alongside Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Philippines.

Although the draw appears to be favourable to the Singaporeans, Aide was keen to stress there would be no room for complacency.

“While Group B appears to be the tougher group, we must remember that there are no minnows in Southeast Asian football these days,” he said.

“Many of our neighbours have made a lot of progress in recent years, and that is why we will not be underestimating any team.”

Goalkeepers: Syazwan Buhari, Rudy Khairullah, Fashah Iskandar (all Courts Young Lions)

Defenders: Shakir Hamzah, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Fadli Kamis, Amirul Adli, Irfan Fandi, Taufiq Muqminin (all Courts Young Lions), Zakir Samsudin (LIONSXII), Nurullah Hussein, Ho Wai Loon (both Balestier Khalsa)

Midfielders: Faris Ramli, Christopher van Huizen (both LIONSXII), Safirul Sulaiman, M. Anumanthan, Shamil Sharif, Adam Swandi, Shameer Aziq, Afiq Noor, Suria Prakash, Pravin Gunasagaran (all Courts Young Lions), Stanely Ng, Muhaimin Suhaimi (both Home United)

Forwards: Shahfiq Ghani, Iqbal Hussain, Amy Recha (all Courts Young Lions), Sahil Suhaimi (LIONSXII), Taufik Suparno (Tampines Rovers)