White Swans custodian, Kengo Fukudome, put in a series of superlative saves to help the team to a 1 nil victory over Warriors FC.
Captain Kyoga Nakamura returned to the starting line up after a one-game suspension. However, right back Shoki Ohara and right winger Daizo Horikoshi could not recover from their injuries in time for this match.
Warriors FC packed their defence from the start and intended to hit the White Swans on the break with speedy winger Gabriel Quak and talisman Jonathan Behe.
Chances were at a premium for the White Swans as there was not much space for them to exploit.
At the 30th minute, a free kick was awarded to the White Swans at the edge of the penalty box. Up step centre back Kaishu Yamazaki, our usual free kick specialist. His curling freekick deflected off Hiroyoshi Kamata’s head and wrong footed Fashah Iskander, Warriors Goalkeeper. 1 nil, the White Swans took slim lead into half time.
Warriors pushed more men forward in the second half in search of the equaliser. However, the White Swans could not score a second goal to kill off the game despite some good chances.
Warriors threw caution into the wind in the last 10 minutes as centre back Fukuda Kento also joined in the attack. Fukudome performed his heroics in these frenetic closing moments as he made saves after saves, with one reminiscent of the great Gordon Bank’s save in the 1970 World Cup against Pele. Except that it was not Pele but Behe in this instance, whose goal bound header towards the bottom left corner was somehow pushed over by Fukudome.
The White Swans were relieved to hear the final whistle as the team held out for a hard fought victory over Warriors FC. The win helps the White Swans to close the gap to 3 points behind leaders Brunei DPMM FC.
The White Swans will visit the Young Lions next in Jalan Besar Stadium on 6 July. However, the White Swans will be sweating over the fitness of Kyoga Nakamura and centre back Shuhei Sasahara who have been sent to hospital for head injury and ankle injury respectively.
Nonetheless, the fans of the White Swans will hope that the team continue to display their fighting spirit for matches to come.
■Date & Time
Friday 30th June 2019, 5:30pm Kick Off
Jurong East Stadium
Albirex Niigata FC (S)：1
30′ Hiroyoshi Kamata
79′ Zamani → Yoshikatsu Hiraga
84′ Shuhei Sasahara → Gamu Tasaka
90+3′ Kyoga Nakamura → Shunsuke Fukuda
【SPL 14th Leg】
vs Young Lions
@Jalan Besar Stadium
Saturday 6th July 2019, 5:30pm Kick Off!
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