The White Swans march into our 3rd Consecutive RHB Singapore Cup Final with a come from behind 2-1 win over arch rivals, Home Utd.
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg in Jurong East Stadium, Home Utd need to win by a 2 goal margin in its home ground at Bishan Stadium to force at least 30 minute extra time.
1.9m centreback Irfan Fandi was switched to centre forward position with league top scorer, Stipe Plazibat, in a bid to score the necessary goals. However, our centrebacks had the 20 year old Irfan in their pockets throughout the game and he could not make any major impact.
Home Utd did have the first goal when Takuya Akiyama inadvertently handled the ball in the box to give away a penalty in the 45th minute. Faris Ramli duly converted the spot kick. For Akiyama’s indiscretion, he was given a yellow card and he will miss the finals as he has accumulated 2 yellow cards in this tournament.
Albirex went into half time trailing 1 nil.
We did not panic in the 2nd half and were contented to soak up the pressure from Home Utd while finding gaps to counter attack Home Utd quickly. Playmaker Kento Nagasaki had an excellent chance in the 54th minute but he only managed to rattle the crossbar with a fierce shot.
Kento had another bite at the cherry minutes later with a free kick just outside the penalty box. However, unlike his trademark freekick, the ball sailed over the crossbar this time without troubling Home Utd keeper Hassan Sunny.
It was third time lucky for Kento in the 83rd minute when a loose ball fell to him outside the box. He swung a low power shot into Hassan’s left hand corner to score the equalizer.
The ball deflated the Home Utd’s players as they knew they now needed to score another 2 goals with 7 minutes left.
We won a corner in the 86th minute. Akiyama made amends for his 1st half mistake and headed in the corner with Hassan flapping at thin air. It was the final nail in the coffin for Home Utd.
Final score 1-2 to Albirex and an aggregate score of 5-2 across both legs of the semi-final against a very strong opponent. It was a good comeback win tonight and credit to the boys and coaching team for sticking to their game plan.
We are going into the RHB Singapore Cup for a 3rd consecutive and we want to win it for a 3rd consecutive time too!