Albirex wins Community Shield
White Swans beat Tampines Rovers 2-1 in ill-tempered season opener.
|albirex niigata||tampines rovers|
|Shoichiro Sakamoto 75, 82||Ryutaro Megumi 36|
Albirex Niigata claimed the Great Eastern Community Shield this evening (Feb 26) with a 2-1 victory over Tampines Rovers at the National Stadium.
The season-opener, watched by 15,480 fans, was marked by Albirex’s profligacy in front of goal, as well as fraying temper towards the end of the game.
Defending champions Albirex had several golden opportunities to score in the first half, but were let down by their poor finishing and lack of composure in front of goal.
Cutting in from the left, Ryota Nakai found space just outside the box in the 28th minute, but his piledriver was pushed away by Tampines custodian Izwan Mahbud for a corner.
Tsubasa Sano was put through on goal eight minutes later, but his poor first touch inside the box allowed Izwan to come off his line to smother the ball.
Tampines’ Ivan Dzoni had a penalty call waved away by referee Sukhbir Singh in the 18th minute.
But the Croatian striker made amends in the 36th minute when his cross from the right flank was met by Ryutaro Megumi, who ghosted in to nod the ball home from six metres out.
It was the Stags’ first shot on target.
Albirex’s Naofumi Tanaka and Kento Nagasaki should have equalised for the Japanese side either side of half-time, when they found themselves alone in the box, but they failed to trouble Izwan.
Dzoni could have put the result to bed in the 57th minute when Tampines were awarded a penalty off Madhu Mohana’s corner.
He converted the first attempt, only for the referee to ask for the spot-kick to be retaken.
Dzoni held his head in disbelief as he saw his second attempt hit the bar.
His miss proved costly, as substitute Shoichiro Sakamoto slid home the equaliser for Albirex 15 minutes from time.
Sakamoto became the hero of the night when he scored the winner for the White Swans in the 82nd minute, amid suspicions of off-side in the build-up.
Tampines ended the match with just eight men, after having Yasir Hanapi, captain Madhu and defender Ismadi Mukhtar sent off in the second half.
Midfielder Yasir received yellow cards in the 49th and 64th minutes, while defenders Madhu and Ismadi received straight red cards in the 88th minute and injury time respectively, amidst a chorus of boos in the stands for Sukhbir’s decisions.
ALBIREX: Takuya Akiyama, Yuuki Yamanouchi, Naofumi Tanaka, Shuto Inaba, Ryota Nakai (Shoma Kondo, 90+1), Hiroyoshi Kamata, Tsubasa Sano (Shoichiro Sakamoto, 60), Kento Nagasaki, Tasutaka Yanagi, Rui Kumada (Ryuya Motodo, 60), Yosuke Nozawa
TAMPINES: Izwan Mahbud, Ismadi Mukhtar, Fahrudin Mustafic (Jufri Taha, 86), Madhu Mohana, Son Yong Chan, Ryutaro Megumi, Syed Haziq (Hafiz Rahim, 33), Daniel Bennett, Yasir Hanapi, Ivan Dzoni (Khairul Amri, 67), Irwan Shah