White Swans beat Young Lions to Keep Cup Hopes Alive

Albirex made their work difficult this evening when they only beat Young Lions 2 nil at Jurong East Stadium.

The White Swans had a disastrous Singapore Cup campaign so far with an opening draw against DPMM Brunei FC and a home loss against Geylang International FC. Thus, they would need to win their 2 final group games starting tonight against Young Lions.

However, Young Lions set out to defend deep with a 5-man backline and the White Swans found space limited. Albirex finally found the breakthrough when captain Asahi Yokokawa made a cross to Junki Yoshimura from the right wing in the 36th minute. Yoshimura controlled the bouncing ball expertly and swivelled his shot onto the crossbar. Attacking midfielder, Seia Kunori, was the fastest to react to tap the ball into the empty net with Young Lions goalkeeper stranded by the rebound.

Yoshimura had a good game as he had come close to scoring twice earlier when he found himself getting into spaces in the right wing.

The White Swans took the 1 nil lead into half time.

In search of more goals, Head Coach Yoshinaga brought on striker, Keito "Fire" Komatsu, to replace the excellent Yoshimura.

【#11 Keito Komatsu】

Albirex continued to huff and puff at the Young Lions penalty area in search of goals in the second half.

In the 65th minute, left winger Riku Fukashiro thought he had scored a superb curler but the offside flag was raised. Komatsu was deemed to be offside and interfered with the play by blocking the goalkeeper's vision for the shot.

【#9 Riku Fukashiro】

Not giving up, the White Swans piled on the attack. The reward finally came when Kunori made a long searching cross into the box which bounced off striker Tadanari Lee's back in the 74th minute. Right winger, Shodai Yokoyama reacted quickly to sweep the ball into the net. 2 nil.

The White Swans had further chances to extend the lead but Fukashiro and Lee fluffed their shots. In additional time, centre back, Koki Kawachi headed the ball over the crossbar with the goal gaping from a corner routine. The White Swans have clearly left their scoring boots at home.

The final group game for Albirex will be held on 26 Nov, 1 month later, at Jurong East Stadium, against Tampines Rovers. Tampines had beaten Young Lions 5 nil in an earlier group game. Thus, it would be a do-or-die game for the White Swans and they may be left to rue their profligacy tonight.

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