Albirex continue fine form with five goals against Geylang

Albirex Niigata FC (S) made it five wins on the trot in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) after a 5-0 thrashing of Geylang International FC at Jurong East Stadium on Saturday evening.

Wataru Murofushi and Kenya Takahashi gave the White Swans a comfortable two-goal cushion at the break, before Taku Morinaga, Shuhei Hoshino and Ryujiro Yamanaka netted one each as the SPL leaders maintained their 100% record. They are now eight points clear of nearest challengers Tampines Rovers FC, albeit having played a game more.

In a match that was delayed for an hour and a half due to inclement weather, the visitors got off to a promising start and nearly opened the scoring after five minutes. Fumiya Kogure however, curled narrowly over from outside the box after being teed up by Ryan Syaffiq.

It proved to be a false dawn, as the Eagles’ resistance was broken on 17 minutes when Riku Moriyasu showed excellent vision to pick out an unmarked Murofushi. The Albirex skipper then had all the time in the world to pick his spot to fire into Basil Chan’s near post for his third goal of the season.

Straight down the other end, Geylang almost levelled matters but Ryson Yap could only thump over a half-volley off Ryan’s pass.

It was two goals to the good for Albirex on the half-hour mark, with Takahashi’s cross-cum-shot somehow evading everyone in the box – including Chan – to find its way into goal.

Albirex continued where they left off after the restart and Morinaga could have gotten his name on the scoresheet but saw his header crash off the bar in the 49th minute.

Adam Swandi then had the ball in the net six minutes later, pouncing on the rebound after Hoshino’s volley was parried by Chan but his strike was chalked off for offside.

Geylang conjured a decent opportunity on 67 minutes, when Kogure timed his run perfectly behind the defence to get onto Ryan’s slide rule pass but the former Albirex man fired tamely at Yosuke Nozawa.

All hopes of a Geylang comeback were extinguished four minutes later as Morinaga raced onto Hoshino’s flick before hitting a stupendous effort which gave Chan no chance.

There was still time for two late goals, with Hoshino calmly slotting past an onrushing Chan on 82 minutes before substitute Yamanaka got into the act three minutes later to complete the rout.

The result meant Geylang’s win-less run stretched to six games and they will be looking to break that duck when they face the Young Lions at Bedok Stadium on May 9. Albirex meanwhile take on Hougang United FC at Jurong East next Sunday.

Albirex Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga: “I didn’t think it was (going to be) an easy game today because Geylang hadn’t won a game so far… I expected a difficult game and having watched our opponents in their first few games, I found out that they had changed their tactics today.

“Thus, it wasn’t easy for us to plan for this match. I told the players they have to use their intelligence and adjust accordingly; so the players did very well today. Of course, we have identified areas where to improve and we will work on them (for future games).

“Leading 2-0, there was no reason for us to attack blindly and that’s why we put Yamanaka in where he used his speed well and we created more chances after that.”

Geylang Head Coach Hirotaka Usui: “I knew everything about Albirex today and I understood that this game was going to be difficult (for us) to win but I thought my players had done their best. When our opponents scored, our players tried to come back and that spirit is important.

“The players didn’t give up until the last minute and I thought this was our best game from us so far this season. If we could have gotten a point I’d be happy but Albirex were simply too good today. This game was all about getting the confidence back, after our 4-1 loss to Home United the last time out.”

Albirex: Yosuke Nozawa (GK), Hiroyoshi Kamata, Shuhei Sasahara, Kaishu Yamazaki, Kenya Takahashi, Riku Moriyasu (Ryujiro Yamanaka 62’), Daiki Asaoka (Kazuki Sumiishi 89’), Wataru Murofushi (C), Adam Swandi, Taku Morinaga, Shuhei Hoshino (Ibuki Inoue 90’)

Geylang: Basil Chan (GK), Darren Teh, Jufri Taha, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (C), Danish Irfan (Fairoz Hasan 79’), Ryan Syaffiq, Yuki Ichikawa, Fuad Ramli, Ryson Yap (Yeo Hai Ngee 55’), Shawal Anuar (Azhar Sairudin 79’), Fumiya Kogure