Four Star Albirex Put DPMM To The Sword
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Albirex Niigata (S) stretched their lead at the summit of the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League to eight points after a comfortable 4-0 win over Brunei DPMM at the Jurong East Stadium on Friday night.
Tsubasa Sano and Ryota Nakai handed Albirex with a two-goal lead at half-time before Rui Kumada and Naofumi Tanaka added their names on the scoresheet in the second-half to ensure Albirex record their tenth victory of the season.
The visitors came close to opening the scoring after just two minutes when debutant Daud Jared Alvarez lashed a fierce shot straight at Yosuke Nozawa.
Kento Nagasaki curled one wide at the other end four minutes later but there was no denying Albirex from taking the lead in the ninth minute.
Springing the offside trap, Sano then calmly slotted the ball past an onrushing Awangku Mu’izzuddin to take his tally to 16 for the season.
However, DPMM did have their chances to level matters with two chances in the space of two minutes.
Alvarez’s shot on the turn drew a good save from Albirex custodian Nozawa in the 26th minute before Adi Said fired straight at Nozawa after latching onto a pass from Vincent Reyes two minutes later.
Steve Kean’s side were made to rue those misses as Sano turned provider, crossing low for Nakai to poke home from close range in the 34th minute.
DPMM could have reduced the deficit minutes before the break when Adi stole the ball off Yasutaka Yanagi but drilled a low shot that trickled wide instead.
The White Swans continued from where they left off and further extended their lead five minutes after the restart.
Arriving late at the far post, the unmarked Kumada powered home a header that flew into Mu’izzuddin’s bottom left corner for 3-0.
DPMM tried to muster a response but Adi’s header off Najib Tarif’s deep cross in the 54th minute was unable to trouble a largely untested Nozawa.
Alvarez then wriggled his way through before hitting a low shot that was blocked for a corner in the 70th minute. From the ensuing set-piece, Adi glanced a header just over at the near post.
Substitute Shoichiro Sakamoto almost added a fourth for Albirex seven minutes from time but saw his effort excellently tipped over by Mu’izzuddin.
But left-back Tanaka would seal victory for the home side with four minutes remaining, lashing a powerful shot past Mu’izzuddin after DPMM failed to clear their lines from a corner.
There were no further goals thereafter as Albirex extended their unbeaten run to 11 games and sit pretty on top of the standings, albeit having played a game more than nearest challengers Home United.
Albirex Niigata (S) Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga: “I was pleased with the performance although there were certain things we need to improve that we will work on for the next game (against Warriors FC).
“Firstly, (Rafael) Ramazotti was absent today and DPMM lacked a target man upfront. We had to change our attacking strategy because we were pressed back in the first-half. We adjusted in the second and did well after that.
“I am not interested in the statistics, and I am not going to count the number of games we have been unbeaten. Whatever's past is past.”
Brunei DPMM Head Coach Steve Kean: “It was a harsh result for us, the result looked as though we were not in the game but I felt that was not the case.
“There was a massive improvement from our last game (a 9-3 defeat to Home United), especially in the first-half. Adi (Said) had three really good chances but that said, we needed to take our chances against a team like Albirex.”
Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK), Tomoki Menda, Takuya Akiyama, Naofumi Tanaka, Shuto Inaba (C), Ryota Nakai (Ryuya Motoda 90’), Hiroyoshi Kamata (Koki Sato 87’), Tsubasa Sano (Shoichiro Sakamoto 82’), Kento Nagasaki, Yasutaka Yanagi, Rui Kumada
Brunei DPMM: Awangku Mu’izzuddin (GK), Haizul Rani (Hazwan Hamzah 65’), Hanif Hamir (Yura Indera Putera 69’), Azwan Saleh (Nurikhwan Othman 76’), Azwan Ali Rahman, Hendra Azam, Daud Jared Alvarez, Najib Tarif, Rosmin Kamis (C), Adi Said, Vincent Reyes