Singapore Premier League: Two wins out of two for Lion City Sailors
Title hopefuls notch second straight 3-1 scoreline with victory over DPMM FC
SINGAPORE — The Lion City Sailors continue to set the pace in the Singapore Premier League (SPL), notching up their second consecutive 3-1 victory to start off the season with a perfect two out of two wins.
After beating Tanjong Pagar United in the opening weekend, the 2021 champions followed up by defeating Brunei's DPMM FC - who are making a return to the league after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic - at Bishan Stadium on Friday (3 March).
An evenly-fought first half seemed heading for a goalless draw at half-time, but the Sailors' Belgian import Maxime Lestienne swept home a well-worked cross from the left in stoppage time to break the deadlock.
DPMM equalised in the 62nd minute when Hakeme Yazid fired home from close range, but the Sailors' new signing Kodai Tanaka put them back in front as he headed home in the far post in the 75th minute. Substitute Abdul Rasaq Akeem put some gloss on the scoreline with a fine goal deep into added time.
Defending champions Albirex Niigata (Singapore) were not in action this week, but there were four other SPL matches played over the past week.
On Tuesday, Geylang International defeated the Young Lions 4-2 amid a heavy downpour at Our Tampines Hub. Harith Kanadi had put the Young Lions ahead in the seventh minute, but Yushi Yamaya equalised for the Eagles via a 25th-minute penalty.
The Young Lions edged ahead again in the 52nd minute after Jun Kobayashi headed home from close range, but Geylang scored three goals in a 15-minute spell through Naufal Azman (56th minute) and Rio Sakuma (64th and 70th) to seal the victory.
On Saturday at the Jurong East Stadium, Tampines Rovers registered their first win of the season with a 2-0 victory against Tanjong Pagar United.
Faris Ramli put the Stags ahead in third minute, before last season's top scorer Boris Kopitovic capitalised on a botched clearance by goalkeeper Kenji Syed Rusydi to open accounts this season in the 37th minute.
Balestier Khalsa also got their first victory of the season on Saturday, inflicting a third straight loss on the Young Lions with a 3-1 win at Bishan Stadium.
Shuhei Hoshino opened accounts for the hosts in the sixth minute, after his point-black tap-in was eventually given following a lengthy VAR check. Captain Ho Wai Loon sealed all three points with two goals (32nd and 46th minutes), before Jordan Emaviwe scored in stoppage time for the Young Lions.
On Sunday, Geylang notched their second win of the week with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Hougang United at Our Tampines Hub.
A second-half double by Vincent Bezecourt (72nd and 85th minutes) allowed the Eagles to leap to top spot on the SPL table with two wins and a draw. Sahil Suhaimi had opened accounts for Hougang in the 16th minute.
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