The White Swans fought back twice to deny the Balestier Tiger’s first win for the season in a pulsating 2-2 draw.
Heavy showers and the lightning warning system threatened to delay the kickoff but the rain stopped in time for the teams to start the game on time. The White Swans dominated early proceedings but were pegged back by a well-worked free kick by Balestier in the 20th minute.
Head Coach Shigetomi replaced right winger Daniel Goh with attacking midfielder Ryoya Taniguchi at the start of the 2nd half to the crowd’s amazement. Daniel was easily the best player for the White Swans in the first half with his penetrative runs and dangerous crosses. However, Shigetomi’s decision proved to be the right one as Taniguchi headed in a corner for the equaliser in the 52nd minute.
The White Swans trailed again 6 minutes late. Hazzuwan Halim fed striker “Jumbo” Hoshino, ex Albirex top scorer in season 2018, who shrugged off centre back Kotaro Takeda’s challenge to put the Tigers ahead again.
At the 74th minute, floodlight failure threatened to derail the match. After almost 30 minutes of waiting, the officials decided to continue the match with less than half of the floodlights on.
The rest did the White Swans a favour as they regained the energy to press for the second equaliser. As the game opened up, Balestier had chances to kill of the game with counter attacks. At the 88th minute, Balestier striker Sime Zuzul was faced with a one vs one situation with White Swans custodian Kei Okawa. Okawa saved Zuzul’s shot and the White Swans immediately broke down the left flank to attack the Tiger’s goal den. This time winger Reo Nishiguchi put the finishing touches to this lightning attack to give the White Swans a well deserved goal and point.
The match finished moments later with the final score at 2-2.
The White Swans will travel to Brunei next week to face the Champions Brunei DPMM FC on 14 Jun, Saturday. Kickoff is at 8.15pm.
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