A complete performance from Albirex Niigata FC (S) saw the Singapore Premier League (SPL) side crush nine-man Geylang International 4-0 on Saturday evening at the Jurong East Stadium.
It was a game where everything that could have gone wrong for the Eagles went wrong – the team currently occupying eighth spot had enough players to name just four substitutes, had a player sent off in each half, and even scored an own goal late on.
Shun Kumagai opened the scoring early in the first half for Albirex, while Taku Morinaga and Hiroyoshi Kamata added onto the scoreline in a five-minute second-half spell.
The result extended their unbeaten run to 42 straight matches in all competitions stretching back to last year.
On the other hand, Geylang have now considered 54 in 22 games – the worst record in the SPL. By contrast, the second worst defensive record in the league is 36 goals conceded, belonging to the Young Lions.
Coming into the game with seven players out injured and a depleted team, the Eagles were set up defensively. But any hopes of limiting Albirex were dashed after they conceded just seven minutes into the match.
Geylang had cleared their lines from a corner seconds earlier, but the ball was quickly recovered by the Japanese side, and Daiki Asaoka floated a wonderful ball in for the centre-back to attack and open the scoring.
The champions could have gone two ahead on 16 minutes after Hiroyoshi Kamata did well to pick out Shuhei Hoshino unmarked inside the box, but the SPL leading scorer fluffed his effort and allowed Geylang keeper Basil Chan to gather the ball easily.
A minute later it was Singaporean forward Adam Swandi who missed for the Japanese side, before Chan was tested again by a Shuhei Sasahara free-kick from way out.
Geylang then found themselves in deeper trouble after Azhar Sairudin was given his marching orders just after the half-hour mark for what appeared to be an innocuous challenge on Taku Morinaga. The referee had initially walked away after blowing for a free-kick, but changed his mind after Albirex Head Coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga started screaming at the touchline, and flashed a yellow card at the Eagles attacking midfielder that was quickly followed by a red.
The decision came as a shocker for the Geylang players, who protested the decision to no avail.
Down to ten men, Geylang defended even deeper. A quick break then saw them get their first crack at the Albirex goal on 42 minutes, but Ryan Shaffiq’s effort from just outside the area was not enough to trouble Yohsuke Nozawa.
The second half was not much different from the first, with Albirex piling the pressure on Geylang.
Morinaga wasted another superb chance, firing the Asaoka’s lofted pass into the Jurong East stadium carpark behind the goal, while Adam couldn’t find the finish after showing some nifty footwork to fool two defenders.
The Eagles got their first foray into the Albirex box only on 53 minutes, via yet another rare counter-attack. Ryan Shaffiq beat Kenya Takahashi to a stray long ball from the back and found his way into the danger area but with no support, he lost the ball under heavy pressure.
Albirex then scored twice in a five-minute spell to make it 3-0, putting the game beyond any doubt.
Taku Morinaga fired in a stupendous strike into the top left corner from inside the box, giving Chan no chance of preventing the goal at all, before Hiroyoshi Kamata got his name onto the scoresheet by finishing a laser-guided cross from Kenya Takahashi after no defenders tracked his late run into the area.
Morinaga then fired another effort narrowly wide, before Hoshino completely missed the target from the penalty spot on 82 minutes, after Yuki Ickikawa dragged the striker down inside the area.
Geylang were then reduced to just nine men after a red card was shown to Fuad Ramli for what appeared to be dissent on 87 minutes as Albirex was preparing to take a free-kick.
Then in injury time, Darren Teh headed into his own net as he attempted to clear Sasahara’s knock on from the corner, compounding the misery for the visitors.
Albirex Niigata FC (S): Yohsuke Nozawa (GK), Shuhei Sasahara, Shun Kumagai, Daiki Asaoka, Riku Moriyasu, Wataru Murofushi (C), Shuhei Hoshino, Adam Swandi (Ryuji Yamanaka 74′), Kenya Takahashi, Hiroyoshi Kamata, Taku Morinaga
Geylang International: Basil Musharraf Chan (GK), Jufri Taha (C), Darren Teh, Ryan Syaffiq (Cameron Ayrton Bell 46′), Azhar Sairudin, Fuad Ramli, Yeo Hai Ngee (Ahmad Zaki 82′), Danish Irfan, Afiq Yunos, Fairoz Hasan (Sadiq Abdul Rahim 81′), Yuki Ichikawa