The AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) continues to bring excitement to audiences with Tanjong Pagar United remaining undefeated after a comeback draw against Tampines Rovers, while title-chasing Albirex Niigata (S) were held to a draw by Geylang International.
Albirex let slip a lead to be held to a draw in a third successive game – the last time they were held to three straight draws was in the final three games of the 2021 season. Meanwhile, Hougang United continue to flounder after a loss to Balestier Khalsa while Lion City Sailors held off Young Lions to go to the top of the table.
Albirex could not break down a headstrong Geylang defence and had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Albirex led twice, but could not hold on to their lead though. Sambongi Tatsuya poked in a pass that bounced off Geylang defender Abdil Qayyim to give the White Swans an early lead in the 7th minute.
Albirex tried to build on the lead but it was Geylang who equalised in the 34th minute. Striker Sime Žužul went on a rampaging run that took him past three defenders before finishing from the edge of the box. Sugita then restored Albirex lead when he curled an unexpected shot from the edge of the box to the top right corner of the net, but Hazzuwan drew the Eagles level again by nodding in Fadli Kamis’ knock-on. Both sides went into halftime with the score at 2-2. Despite having to play the final 30 minutes with a man less due to Faizal Roslan’s sending off, Geylang defended valiantly against Albirex.
Elsewhere, Tampines Rovers squandered their 3-0 lead and had to settle for a draw with the Jaguars. Leading by two early goals with Kopitović forcing an own goal from Faritz before rounding Zharfan Rohaizad to strike from an acute angle, Tampines looked set for another three points when Taufik Suparno delivered a powerful shot that rattled the crossbar barely two minutes into the second half.
In the 64th minute, Van Huizen lashed in a left-footed finesse shot from the edge of the box to put the Stags three up. However, Tanjong Pagar upped their intensity, and Nishiguchi’s penalty sparked a comeback. In the 75th minute, Reo Nishiguchi doubled his tally by converting a header from a Tanjong Pagar United corner kick. In the dying minutes of the game, an Aqhari Abdullah cross met the head of Mirko Sugic, which was enough to salvage a point for the Jaguars. The scoreline for the game: a 3-3 draw. “While the result was less than desirable, I know we can bounce back from this. We are capable of so much more” mentioned debutant Adam Reefdy in a post-match interview with Tampines Rovers. After making several substitute appearances this campaign, 17-year-old Adam Reefdy finally made his full debut for Tampines Rovers.
With a game in hand, Tampines sits 4th in the table with 8 points. A win against Albirex this Saturday would see them move up the table and attain 3rd placing in the table. On the other hand, Albirex desperately needs to win Tampines Rovers this Saturday after being forced to share points with their opponents in the past three games. A win is crucial to keep them in the title race contest.
If Albirex draws or loses this Saturday’s game against Tampines, and assuming Lion City Sailors defeat Tanjong Pagar United, the gap between Albirex and the leaders of the table, Lion City Sailors, would further increase. This might be costly to the White Swans who are looking to wrest back the title from the Sailors.
Albirex Niigata(S) vs Tampines Rovers Head-to-Head
Both teams have shared the field 31 times in various competitions, with Albirex having won 20 times and Tampines Rovers having won 8 times. Both teams have drawn three times.
Albirex Niigata(S) form guide: D-D-D-W-W
Tampines Rovers form guide: D-W-W-L-D
Albirex Niigata(S) vs Tampines Rovers Team News
There are no reported injuries or suspensions.
Other reasons: None
Injured: Irfan Najeeb
Other Reasons: None
Albirex Niigata(S) vs Tampines Rovers Predicted Starting XI
Albirex Niigata(S) Predicted Starting XI (4-4-2) : Koga Takahiro( GK) , Matsuura Yoshiki, Kobayashi Jun, Hariya Keito, Omori Daichi, Kobayashi Kan, Kakuta Kumpei, Sugita Masahiro, Nicky Melvin Singh, Lee Tadanari, Tanaka Kodai
Tampines Rovers Predicted Starting XI (3-5-2) : Muhammad Syazwan Bin Buhari (GK), Shuya Yamashita, Muhammad Amirul Haikal Bin Mohamed Hassim, Muhammad Irwan Shah Bin Arismail, Muhammad Yasir Bin Hanapi,Kyoga Nakamura,Zehrudin Mehmedovic,Christopher James Van Huizen, Yu En Ong, Boris Kopitovic, Mohamad Taufik Bin Suparno
This would be a very interesting match-up between two good teams. Currently, Tampines Rovers are in good form and their metronomic passing movement might cause problems for Albirex. However, if Albirex can find its form again and capitalize on its technical ability, Albirex could win against Tampines Rovers. Both teams would be looking to claim three points and it is going to be 90 minutes of thrill and excitement for fans.
Prediction: Tampines Rovers 2-2 Albirex Niigata(S)