Sugiyama hails Albirex team effort

Koichi Sugiyama believes all his Albirex Niigata players did their part in Wednesday's 4-3 comeback win over Tampines Rovers in the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League.

The captain leads the Albirex celebrations!

By Gabriel Tan

Despite finding themselves behind thrice courtesy of goals from Sead Hadzibulic, Ahmad Latiff and Aleksandar Duric, the White Swans hit back on each occasion, with Yasuhiro Yamakoshi racking up a hat-trick in the process.

Tampines then went a man down in the 74th minute when Mustafic Fahrudin picked up his second booking of the night and eight minutes later, Albirex went on the claim all three points when Sho Kamimura tapped home the winner from close range, after Sasa Dreven had pushed a Hidekazu Yamamoto effort into his path.

The result was enough to keep alive the Japanese outfit's title hopes and they are now six points behind the table-topping Stags with three games to go, and while Yamakoshi garnered most of the plaudits with his prolific display in front of goal, Sugiyama insisted the victory was only possible because every player had done their part.

"I'm very satisfied with our performance tonight [Wednesday]," he said. "We got this win due to all the players.

"All of them put their respective skills to good use and played to the best of their abilities."

Nonetheless, the ex-Urawa Reds defender refused to entertain suggestions that the title race had been thrown wide open, and believes Tampines remain favourites.

"Even though we won tonight [Wednesday], Tampines are still first on the table," Sugiyama added.

"However, we will do our best for the remaining games and maintain our focus on playing good football.

"Of course I believe we will do well and win our last three games. We want to enjoy all the matches and play our brand of football."

Albirex are next in action on October 20 when they take on Geylang United at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

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