By Gabriel Tan
The Jaguars headed into their Great Eastern-YEO's S.League clash at the Jalan Besar Stadium looking to bounce back from last week's 1-0 loss to Hougang United, but were put to the sword by Albirex courtesy of goals from Masatake Sato and Kunihiro Yamashita.
But despite his side being condemned to their second straight defeat since the second round of the campaign got underway, Pathmanathan found positives to take out from the game in the performance of Haitian striker Bayonne, who was one of his few players who gave the White Swans something to worry about.
"I think he performed to expectations," Pathmanathan said after the game. "I've worked with him for the past three weeks now.
"He took a lot of hits and knocks and pain playing for the team - it was there for everyone to see. He's someone whom we really need to get things moving in attack.
"He was holding up the ball well despite the opponents being ever-ready to pounce on him."
Despite being second best for most of the match, Tanjong Pagar did well to keep the Albirex attack at bay and were arguably only beaten due to their own errors.
First, captain Delwinder Singh's eagerness to charge down Sato's freekick saw referee Ahmad A'Qashah order a retake, from which the Albirex winger proceeded to score from, before goalkeeper Fajar Sarib's failure to gather a cross allowed Yamashita to power a header into the net four minutes after the break.
While he admits the White Swans were the better team on the evening, Pathmanathan was unable to hide his disappointment at the manner in which his side conceded.
"We lost to a better team," he conceded. "Technically, they were far superior but in all fairness, we actually held them well.
"We worked hard and only gave them a few chances at goal. Unfortunately, we did badly at freekicks - both goals we conceded came from dead-ball situations.
"For the first one, Delwinder stepped forward even though it was a direct freekick and he should have known better. For the second goal, the keeper took the blame. He came up to me and apologised after the game but it's just one of those things."
Albirex coach Koichi Sugiyama admitted the Jaguars defence did prove tough to break down, although he was pleased with the way his side were always in control of the game.
"We controlled the game and could have scored more goals but Tanjong Pagar were very good in defence," Sugiyama said.
"Our players did very well. All of them did very well in playing their parts in our defensive structure."
The former Urawa Red Diamonds defender also opted to hand striker Yasuhiro Yamakoshi a rare start at the expense of Toshikazu Soya, who eventually came on as a second-half substitute. And while neither player managed to find the back of the net, their coach insisted they had played their parts for the team.
"I think he [Yamakoshi] played very well," the Japanese added. "He hasn't started many games but today [Thursday], he received plenty of the ball and played very well.
"Soya and Yamakoshi may not have scored goals today [Thursday], but that is not a problem for us.
"The most important thing is that the team wins."
Albirex are next in action on July 2 when they take on reigning league champions Tampines Rovers in the first leg of their RHB Singapore Cup quarter-final clash at the Jurong East Stadium, before both sides meet again in the return leg four days later at the Clementi Stadium.