By Abhishek Mehrotra
The Warriors looked to be on their way to victory in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League match when Mislav Karoglan put them 3-2 up in the 63rd minute, but an 82nd minute goal from Yasuhiro Yamakoshi and another with virtually the last kick of the game from Atushi Shimono meant the home side had nothing to show at the end of what was a hugely entertaining match.
"To let in a last minute goal is really heartbreaking," said Bok.
"We played well, got the goals, but then gave away sloppy ones at the back. We need to defend better, we cannot be scoring and then giving away goals at the other end.
"It was a good game of football, but we came up short."
It was an unusually open match, with both sides carving out numerous opportunities, but SAFFC were punished for sitting back after taking the lead - allowing the Japanese outfit to pile on the pressure. Ultimately, it was a quickly taken free-kick that led to the final goal.
Even though he did not agree with the award of the free-kick, Bok felt his side should have done better subsequently.
"Once we gave it [the free-kick] away, we didn't organise quickly enough. But it was right at the end, the players' weren't completely focused and Albirex took full advantage."
However, the 42-year-old did have a few positives to take away, with new signings Marin Vidosevic and Aliff Shafaein, formerly of Tanjong Pagar, giving good accounts of themselves.
"Not many teams play Albirex as open as we did, so we want to [continue] playing good, attacking football but need to cut out the goals that we're giving away.
"I though Vida [Vidosevic] did well. He saved us on a few occasions, and provided some good deliveries. But football is about teamwork - he can do as much as possible, but the rest have to chip in as well.
"Aliff had a decent game, given that it was his first start. Some good runs from him, but I think he can give more."
The Warriors next face a tough trip to Brunei to face league leaders Brunei DPMM on June 23, and Bok admitted it would be no easy task especially since Vjeran Simunic's men will be smarting after losing 1-0 to Tampines Rovers on Thursday.
"Brunei have a hard-working, disciplined team, so it's not easy to go there and get a result," he cautioned.
Bok's counterpart Koichi Sugiyama was all smiles at the end of the match that saw his side rise to fourth in the table.
"It was an exciting game," he said. "We will emerge stronger from this because SAFFC are a very good team."
Watch: Highlights - SAFFC 3-4 Albirex Niigata... More Videos
The 40-year-old admitted his side struggled to find their rhythm on the wobbly pitch, and it was only when the Warriors stood off that his players could come into their own.
"The pitch was not very good, so it was tough for us to adjust. But when SAFFC dropped back, it was easier for us [to move the ball around] because didn't need to make difficult passes."
The coach also had words of praise for substitute Koichi Sugiyama, who made the crucial assist for the final goal after coming on in the 90th minute.
"Kobayashi couldn't play many games last season, but he's one of the most improved players from last year."
The White Swans have thrilled spectators with their slick passing style and Sugiyama promised they would continue to play with the same fluency.
"We're very confident, and we want to play this type of football everytime. I want more people come to the stadium to watch such games," he stressed.
Albirex next play Tanjong Pagar at the Queenstown Stadium on Thursday, June 21.