Team of the Week - S.League Rd 22
A whooping 26 goals were scored in 7 matches played during the last round of matches. In the midst of all the goalmouth action, only two goalkeepers managed to keep a clean sheet. One of the two 'keepers that shared the honour was Syazwan Buhari of Courts Young Lions. The 21 year old was in fine form, repelling every shot that came his way, and was the bedrock of his side’s 3-0 upset over title challengers Home United.
The only other goalkeeper who kept a clean sheet was Warriors FC’s Hassan Sunny who once again enjoyed an impressive outing, shutting out Tampines Rovers en route to Warriors’ 2-0 win over the Stags.
With the firepower that The Protectors possess in their ranks, keeping them at bay would have surely required a team effort. Amirul Adli and Anumanthan Kumar shone at the heart of the Courts Young Lions’ defence, dealing with every attack that came their way. Experienced strikers Indra Sahdan and Fazrul Nawaz of Home United are still trying to find their way out of Amirul and Anumanthan’s pockets as we speak.
Rounding out the back-line is the ever reliable Daniel Bennett of Warriors FC. The record caps holder for the Singapore national team, the centre-back showed his experience when it mattered, ensuring that the Tampines strikers barely had a good sniff of the goal. His outstanding presence at the back gave his side the impetus to go forward and wreak havoc up front, which they did claiming an all-important victory over their fellow title challengers.
If TOTWs were decided by first half performances, Keno Fukuda of Geylang International would definitely be in the side as he netted twice via set-pieces to help establish a 3-1 lead at half time. But defensive lapses from the Japanese defender’s team allowed a second half comeback from Albirex Niigata(S), condemning the Eagles to a 4-3 defeat.
Big players come to the fore in big matches and it could not have got any more important for Balestier Khalsa against Harimau Muda in the penultimate match of the second round of the S.League. Needing a good result to send themselves ahead of Hougang United into the top six, Ruhaizad Ismail produced one of his best performances this season to propel the Tigers into the top six. The nifty winger opened the scoring with a well taken free-kick before turning provider for Goran Ljubojevic.
Harimau Muda returned to league action this week and Asri Mardzuki caught the eye, especially against Hougang United. The central midfielder pulled the strings in midfield and sprayed passes all over the pitch precisely to his teammates. To put the cherry on the cake, he got on the score sheet with a brilliant curling effort from a free kick.
Thomas Beattie was also excellent in midfield for Warriors FC. The Englishman was aggressive in midfield, keeping the formidable duo of Shahdan Sulaiman and Jacob Butler on their toes throughout the math. A well taken header which doubled the lead for his side in an important match certainly helped his cause as well.
Another member of the Courts Young Lions squad that features this week is Jordan Webb. Given a role just behind Sahil Suhaimi, the Canadian born Webb wreaked havoc on the Home United defence, looking for avenues to prod balls through for his frontman. One such ball found its way to his teammate Shameer Aziq who netted the developmental side’s second goal of the night. Webb's moment of the match came with the last play of the game as he made good use of his pace to run the length of the pitch and round experienced goalkeeper Shahril Jantan before finishing for the Young Lions’ third and final goal.
He is Singapore football’s man of the moment and he proved his status once again, with another good strike, a result of his predatory instincts in front of goal. Pouncing on a loose ball, Sahil Suhaimi neatly tucked the ball into the bottom corner of the goal beyond the reach of Shahril Jantan. Sahil was also a constant menace to the Protectors all evening with his darting runs. With his impressive form in front of goal, the youngster will be keen to replicate his club form on the international stage to help a goal shy Singapore.
Rodrigo Tosi netted the crucial goal to give Brunei DPMM the win in a closely contested match with Tanjong Pagar. The Brazilian forward tested the Tanjong Pagar goalkeeper, Aurelien Herisson all night with the latter always seeming to come out on top. But Tosi persisted and he headed past Herisson from a corner before converting a stoppage time penalty to give his side all three points. With 21 goals to his name so far in the league, Tosi has certainly been firing on all fronts this season.
Finishing matters off in attack this week is Goran Ljubojevic of Balestier Khalsa. In a match that the Tigers needed goals, Ljubojevic was extremely effective in front of goal. With excellent support from the flanks from Ruhaizad Ismail and Zulkifli Hassim, the marquee striker made full use of the crosses, scoring two goals to aid his side to a 5-1 victory. With 17 goals from the Balestier frontman, the Tigers’ rise to the top six has been no surprise.