Rampant White Swans Extend Winning Run
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
A brace from Tsubasa Sano helped Albirex Niigata (S) continue winning ways in the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League as they beat Garena Young Lions 5-0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
Takuya Akiyama, Kento Nagasaki, Ryota Nakai were the other names on the scoresheet as the reigning champions made it two wins in as many games to go level on points with Home United at the summit.
Fresh from their 2-1 victory over Tampines Rovers in their opening league game, Kazuaki Yoshinaga’s men were the ones applying the early pressure. They nearly went in front barely a minute into the game, but Shoichiro Sakamoto could only fire narrowly wide of Zharfan Rohaizad’s left-hand post.
Albirex came close again in the eighth minute when Tsubasa Sano met a cross from the right but his firm header was parried by a flying Zharfan.
However, the floodgates opened soon after as the visitors scored twice in the space of two minutes. Sano broke the deadlock as he rifled home a powerful shot which went in off the post on 16 minutes before Akiyama rose highest to nod home a Nagasaki freekick from the left two minutes later.
The visitors would then take a three-goal cushion into the break. Nakai was fouled on the edge of the box and Nagasaki stepped up to curl home a stunning freekick into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Under the cosh for most parts of the game, the Young Lions could have pulled one back two minutes before half-time but defender Amirul Adli sent his effort straight at Yosuke Nozawa.
Young Lions coach V. Selvaraj brought on Syahrul Sazali after the restart and the substitute almost reduced the deficit but hit a tame shot which Nozawa saved comfortably in the 48th minute.
Albirex went on to add a fourth just before the hour mark with Nakai firing into the top corner after getting onto the end of a Sakamoto backheel.
The scoring was complete 15 minutes from time when Sano latched onto a Nakai header before slamming home from close range.
Garena Young Lions Head Coach V. Selvaraj: “I believe we did well in the first 15 minutes but we lost concentration and gave away unnecessary fouls after that.
“Once we conceded the first goal, it was a mountain to climb but we tried our best. In fact, we could have scored one or two. The boys tend to put themselves under pressure and are afraid of making mistakes, but they are capable of better things.”
Albirex Niigata (S) Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga: “I’m not satisfied with the performance even if we didn’t concede any goals. Our performance dropped after scoring the early goals. I want to see the players play with the same tempo and intensity throughout.”
“There were a lot of missed passes and our transition play was too slow and I hope to see that improve in our next game against Brunei DPMM.”
Garena Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Amirul Adli, Shahrin Saberin (C), Dhukhilan Jeevamani, Jordan Chan (Zulqarnaen Suzliman 58’), Hami Syahin (Ammirul Emmran 86’), Muhelmy Suhaimi, Yeo Hai Ngee (Syahrul Sazali 46’), Taufik Suparno, Muhaimin Suhaimi
Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK), Hiroyoshi Kamata, Yasutaka Yanagi, Takuya Akiyama, Naofumi Tanaka, Ryota Nakai, Shuto Inaba (C), Kento Nagasaki (Rui Kumada 72’), Ryuya Motoda (Shoma Kondo 90’), Tsubasa Sano, Shoichiro Sakamoto (Koki Sato 86’)