High-flying White Swans Notch Third Straight Win
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Second-half strikes from Ryuya Motoda and Ryota Nakai were enough for Albirex Niigata (S) as they beat Brunei DPMM 2-0 at Jurong East Stadium on Thursday night.
It was the White Swans’ third victory on the trot in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League as the result also saw them replace Home United at the summit and go three points clear.
Both sides made personnel changes for the match, with Yuuki Yamanouchi and Tomoki Menda coming in for Motoda and Shoichiro Sakamoto for Albirex, while Yura Indera Putera took the place of the injured Francois Marque for DPMM.
The first-half was a tightly-contested affair, with the first chance of note coming on nine minutes, but Azwan Saleh’s effort from 20 yards was comfortably caught by Albirex custodian Yosuke Nozawa.
At the other end three minutes later, Tsubasa Sano could have put the hosts ahead, but scuffed his shot on the edge of the six-yard box after he was teed up by Kento Nagasaki.
The Wasps were presented with a glorious opportunity to open the scoring just before the half-hour mark. Billy Mehmet rose highest to meet Rosmin Kamis’ right-wing cross, but saw his header came off the foot of the post.
Rafael Ramazotti then headed wide in the 37th minute, before Yuuki Yamanouchi grazed the bar with a cross-shot from a tight angle on the stroke of half-time.
After the restart, Albirex were unlucky not to have scored as Yasutaka Yanagi and Takuya Akiyama were both denied by Wardun and the woodwork on 50th and 51st minutes respectively.
In the 71st minute, substitute Shochiro Sakamoto came close when he left his man for dead down the right before cutting in, but his low drive at goal found only the side-netting.
The deadlock was however, broken with sixteen minutes remaining. Motoda - who had only been on the pitch for three minutes - made a late run into the box to connect with Naofumi Tanaka’s cross from the left before sending a diving header past Wardun to put Albirex in front.
Try as they might, but all hopes of a DPMM comeback were extinguished when Nakai netted three minutes from time. Taking down a long ball, the 22-year-old then slotted past an onrushing Wardun to seal the victory for Albirex.
In an attempt to salvage something from the game, DPMM head coach Steve Kean brought on brothers Shahrazen Said and Adi Said shortly after, but it was in vain as Albirex hung on for the three points.
Albirex Niigata (S) Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga: “We didn’t attack well in the first-half but made some adjustments to the players’ positions in the second and we managed to attack more incisively.
“Against a team playing with three centre-backs, it’s important for the players to show their flexibility at playing at a number of positions so as to adapt to my tactics for any team that comes along.”
Brunei DPMM Head Coach Steve Kean: ““We created good chances, and Billy (Mehmet) was unlucky in the first-half with the header. The two goals we gave away were really poor, we had all the chances. If you don’t get goals, you don’t get the three points - as simple as that.
“We can’t concede five goals in two games but we have have had similar bad runs in the past. It’s back to the training ground for us and we go again.”
Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK), Tomoki Menda, Yasutaka Yanagi, Takuya Akiyama, Naofumi Tanaka, Kento Nagasaki, Shuto Inaba (C), Yuuki Yamanouchi, Hiroyoshi Kamata (Ryuya Motoda 71’), Ryota Nakai (Rui Kumada 90’), Tsubasa Sano (Shoichiro Sakamoto 62’)
Brunei DPMM: Wardun Yussof (GK), Reduan Petara, Yura Indera Putera (Shahrazen Said 87’), Azwan Saleh, Azwan Ali Rahman (Adi Said 87’), Hendra Azam, Billy Mehmet, Najib Tarif, Maududi Hilmi Kasmi, Rosmin Kamis (C), Rafael Ramazotti