With 5 goals against the Garena Young Lions in the first round and a further 8 goals in the second round, all money would be on Albirex putting more past the Young Lions tonight.
Head Coach Yoshinaga made 2 significant changes to the team. Top scorer, Tsubasa Sano, returned to the team after his ankle injury, and No. 11 Sakamoto started from the bench; veteran keeper, Yosuke Nozawa took a rest and reserve keeper Shuhei Yamada was making his league debut after his good performance against Tampines in the RHB Singapore Cup Quarter Finals.
There was also changes formation-wise. No. 8 Hiroyoshi Kamata was moved from his usual right back position to defensive midfield while Rui Kumada took up the right side of the defence. On paper, Garena Young Lions should not pose too much of a problem for us considering our previous results.
The Cubs new Head Coach, Vincent Subramaniam, had other ideas instead. Coach Subramaniam brought with him many pedigrees, such as S.League title winning coach in 1997 and 1998 with SAFFC (now known as Warriors FC), and National Team Head Coach in 2001.
Under his guidance, the Cubs made life difficult for the White Swans. It took 33 minutes before Captain Shuto Inaba, fresh from his one week training in Niigata, latched onto a through pass from Kamata and unleashed an unstoppable shot past Zharfan, the Cub’s custodian.
Many in the stands thought that the floodgates would open but the Cubs stood compact and were quick in counter attacking. Albirex didn’t help itself when Tsubasa Sano was sent off in the 51st minute with an alleged elbow against a Cubs defender during a corner kick tussle.
With 10 men, Albirex continued to search for the elusive 2nd goal. At the 57th minute, No.10 Kento Nagasaki received a crossfield pass from Centre back Yanagi and found himself one to one with Zharfan. However, in his haste, Kento lashed the ball over the crossball.
Garena Young Lions started attacking Albirex in search of an equaliser. There were some dangerous moments but the Albirex defence stood firm. In the end, the team was glad to run the clock down and hear the final whistle. At full time, the score stood at GYL 0 Albirex 1.
It was hard work for the 90 minutes but all it matters is 3 points.
S.League 18th Leg（Away）
【Date & Time】
Fri 8th Sep 2017, 7:30pm Kick Off
Garena Young Lions
Jalan Besar Stadium
Garena Young Lions 0
Albirex Niigata FC (S) 1
44’ Shuto Inaba
74’ Ryuya Motoda → Yuuki Yamanouchi
88’ Ryota Nakai → Shoichiro Sakamoto
90’ Rui Kumada → Tomoki Menda
Picture is provided by Great Eastern HYUNDAI S.League