Albirex fail to close gap on DPMM slip up

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Albirex Niigata failed to take advantage on the slip up of leaders DPMM FC when they were held to a 3-3 draw by Home United on the road in a Singapore Premier League 2019 (SPL) tie at the Bishan Stadium.

The three-time SPL champion surrendered a two-goal lead in the closing stages, where victory would have seen them move just one point behind DPMM.

Albirex have 31 points from 16 matches as against DPMM’s 34 points from the same number of games.

The visitors had done well to respond to Amiruldin Asraf’s powerful opener for Home as Yosuke Nakagawa curled in a fine effort after cutting in from the right to equalise.

Haikal Hasnol then spilled a free-kick into the path of Hiroyoshi Kamata, who buried the rebound before Kyoga Nakamura scored a Goal of the Season contender.

Having chased down a loose pass, the Albirex captain hit a first-time effort from 45 yards that sailed over the goalkeeper and into the top left corner. That looked to have been enough to seal the three points but the Protectors refused to lie down.

Song Uiyoung converted from the spot after Hami Syahin was fouled and just 120 seconds later, Shahril Ishak was Johnny on the spot to sweep in the rebound after Faizal Roslan’s header came off a post.

In the meantime, Hougang blew the title race open with a big win against DPMM, who fell to only their second defeat of the season.

The loss of Hendra Azam through suspension was a blow for Adrian Pennock, as was the injury that first-choice goalkeeper Wardun Yussof sustained during the warm-up.

Clement Teo’s charges raced out of the blocks and Faris Ramli put away the penalty after Haimie Nyaring brought him down. The replacement goalkeeper’s position looked suspect when Hougang captain Zulfahmi Arifin whipped a free-kick past him from 22 yards.

DPMM were blunted further when league top scorer Andrei Varankou was forced off by injury on the stroke of half-time and despite Blake Ricciuto scoring his ninth of the season, Hougang sealed victory when Faris set up substitute Nazrul Nazari to hammer in from 14 yards.

Elsewhere, Young Lions drew 1-1 with Tampines Rovers and Warrriors deadlocked 3-3 against Balestier.




No Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 DPMM 16 10 4 2 33 17 +16 34
2 Albirex Niigata (S) 16 9 4 3 27 16 +11 31
3 Hougang United 16 9 2 5 34 25 +9 29
4 Tampines Rovers 15 6 6 3 32 19 +13 24
5 Home United 15 6 3 6 24 27 −3 21
6 Geylang International 16 5 2 9 22 30 −8 17
7 Warriors 16 4 4 8 28 38 −10 16
8 Young Lions 16 4 2 10 11 24 −13 14
9 Balestier Khalsa 16 3 3 10 21 36 −15 12
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