Morinaga scores hat-trick as Albirex make it a perfect 10
Albirex Niigata maintained their glittering start to the season, making it a perfect 10 wins out of 10 after blitzing past a meek Balestier Khalsa 5-0 at the Jurong East Stadium last night.
|ALBIREX NIIGATA||BALESTIER KHALSA|
|( Shuhei Hoshino 10, Taku Morinaga 50, 71, 72, Hiroyoshi Kamata 67)|
While Albirex coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga was thrilled by his side's form in this Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, he warned them against complacency, sending out another reminder that they are far from perfect.
He said after the match: "My players did well tonight. If we win, it breeds confidence and we have the confidence to beat anyone. But the players must be humble and there's always room to improve. It's a process that we repeat every match."
Claiming the spotlight last night was Albirex's Taku Morinaga. The 1.53m-tall striker lived up to his moniker "The Little Giant" as he ran unimpeded in attack, grabbing his first hat-trick in his debut SPL season to end a four-game goal drought.
He also provided an assist for SPL leading scorer Shuhei Hoshino to open accounts in the 10th minute, taking his tally to 10 goals.
In the 50th minute, Morinaga extended Albirex's lead. He collected a poor clearance by Balestier's Vedran Mesec before curling the ball past goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam.
Hiroyoshi Kamata made it 3-0 before Morinaga added another. The fleet-footed forward capped Albirex's fantastic night with another wonder goal after tearing down the wing and lashing a powerful shot that found the net from the tightest of angles.
Balestier's miserable night was compounded after Albirex goalkeeper Yosuke Nozawa saved Mesec's spot-kick late in the game.
Balestier coach Marko Kraljevic conceded that the title race is over. He said: "Albirex are looking like champions. There's no way to chase them, they're too good this year."
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