FFT's Five Finds: White Swans under pressure

Brunei DPMM vs Albirex Niigata (S)

Just another action-packed weekend in Southeast Asian football as FourFourTwo tries to narrow it down to just five finds... 

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Suddenly the pressure is on Albirex in Singapore

In the space of two games, Albirex Niigata's lead at the top of the S.League has gone from seven points to one. Suddenly there is a tense title race and while Tampines Rovers are a point behind, they are starting to look the likelier of the two to clinch it.

On Thursday,  Tampines showed they could scrap for the points as they defeated Geylang 2-1.

The White Swans had to win on Friday to maintain their four-point advantage but fell at the home of defending champions DPMM in Brunei.

If there is any consolation for the leaders, it is that the two consecutive defeats have been against top sides. The next two games are against the bottom pair.

It will be either a perfect opportunity to take six points, steady nerves and put the pressure back on the shoulders of the in-form Tampines or it will be the point when a  blip becomes something much more serious.

Selangor's troubles continue

It is debatable as to whether Selangor are still the biggest club in Malaysia but there is no doubting the club's ability to make headlines. On Sunday, the Red Giants sacked Zainal Abidin Hassan as head coach.

The Red Giants had worked so hard during last season to get the man they wanted from Pahang only for him to not even last the season. Now only four of the 12 coaches that started the Malaysia Super League are still in place.

Even before the recent run of one point from the last four games which officially confirmed what all knew already – the club was not in the title race.

Now Selangor are still third but 13 points behind second and a massive 17 off the pace set by leaders and champions Johor Darul Ta'zim.

Once again, the new man has a big job ahead.

Johor Darul Ta'zim a step away from a third straight Malaysian title

It was a heart-breaking, though brave performance from Terengganu who, after taking a two-goal lead, were disappointed with a point at title-challenging Felda United.

The headlines however will be focused on the home side and the dropping of two points. In a normal title race against a normal opponent, the late equaliser from Shukor Adan would have been a source of relief but when it comes to JDT, it is a major problem.

The Southern Tigers are relentless and now four points clear. With five games remaining, the championship is now out of Felda United's hands. Even if they defeat JDT in their upcoming clash, the defending champions will have to stumble elsewhere.

Basically, Felda have to make up four points in five games against a team that has dropped just eight all season.

Indonesia set for a thrilling title race

It seems that after having no league season in 2015, Indonesian teams are cramming two seasons of excitement into 2016. The title race is hotting up nicely.

At the time of writing with the Indonesia Soccer Championship season approaching the halfway stage, only four points separate the top four teams.

The bottom is even more exciting with four points the difference between Persela at the bottom and PSM five spots higher.

Arema moved top, for 24 hours at least, thanks to a 1-0 win at home to Bali United but it was the home defeat of in-form Bhayangkara Surabaya that was the big story of the weekend as they lost at home to Persipura.

BS United had been going very well indeed in the Indonesia Soccer Championship with five straight wins putting them into the midst of the title race..

In the last minute, United were heading for a point but then came Boaz Solassa to win the game for the visitors and give Madura United a chance to pull away at the top.

The AFF Suzuki Cup provides motivation especially for Myanmar and Philippines

For seven nations in the region, they know which group they will be in for November's big showdown. They know who, when and where they will play.

It brings the tournament to life and with the domestic seasons starting to enter the latter stages in most countries, it should give players a little more energy and desire to show the various national team coaches what they can do.

This is especially true for co-hosts of the group stage Myanmar and the Philippines. Neither country has ever won the title with only the Philippines making it out of the group stage. Yet there may never be a better time for them to achieve success and the hard work starts now.

For Singapore and Indonesian stars in Thailand and Malaysia, there is sure to be a little more banter creeping into training.

The end of the regional season now has a focal point and it remains to be seen if it can inject something extra into title races and relegation battles around the region.