White Swans too hot for Tigers to handle
S.League leaders pick up fifth win of the season
|BALESTIER KHALSA||ALBIREX NIIGATA|
|(Hiroyoshi Kamata 23rd, Tsubasa Sano 64th, Ryota Nakai 70th)|
Albirex Niigata delivered a strong statement of intent with a 3-0 victory over of Balestier Khalsa at last night's Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League match at Jalan Besar Stadium.
Defending champions Albirex broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute, after Naofumi Tanaka sprinted down the left flank and crossed the ball to Hiroyoshi Kamata, who beat Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam to put the Japanese outfit 1-0 up.
The White Swans continued to dominate the first half, which saw them attempt at least half a dozen shots on goal.
The Balestier players tried to break the opponents' flow with a series of rough tackles, one of which earned Raihan Rahman a yellow card.
The frustration in the Tigers' camp became clear when, just before the break, Shah Hirul earned a booking for shouting at Albirex coach Yoshinaga Kazuaka.
Balestier's only real chance in the first period came via a shot by Tajeli Selamat, which was well saved by the Albirex goalkeeper.
The Japanese side did not slow down after the break and got a deserved second goal in the 64th minute through striker Tsubasa Sano, who netted his sixth goal this season.
Albirex continued to flex their might and, just six minutes later, Ryota Nakai killed off the match with the White Swans' third goal.
Albirex coach Kazuaka was delighted with his team's consistency and form.
The 49-year-old said: "Overall, it's a good game for us. I've seen improvements from the last performance."
But Kazuaka believes his team still need to be more clinical in front of goal.
He said: "We wanted to score more goals but Balestier were solid at the back so we had to think of ways to penetrate their defence.
"We've improved in terms of positioning but when the players get the ball, some of the decision-making was not good enough.
"Overall, it's a good game for us. I've seen improvements from the last performance."Albirex Niigata coach Yoshinaga Kazuaka on his team's consistency and form
Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic expected more from his team, but said it was more important that they put the defeat behind them and look ahead to their next challenge.
He said: "I was disappointed with the first 20 minutes. There were many players playing with their heart, but not with their head.
"Albirex were the better team today. What's next for us is to move on from this defeat and focus on our next game against Hougang (next Thursday)."
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