Team of the Week - S.League Rd 3
The S.League is well into its stride now after the completion of three full rounds. Our team of FourFourTwo Singapore writers examine which performers did enough to make it into our S.League Team of the Week.
Nazri Sabri, despite coming on as a substitute in Hougang United’s 3-1 win over Albirex Niigata, made it into our Team Of the Week.
The goalkeeper showed considerable poise and confidence when unexpectedly called upon following an injury to Fadhil Salim, earning his spot in the star-studded S.League TOTW side during a week when some keepers were badly exposed, while others were mere spectators in one sided-contests. Nazri, on the other hand was kept fairly busy and gave a good account of himself.
Hassan Sunny too, gave a good account of himself in goals for SAFFC. The Singapore national goalkeeper barely put a foot wrong between the posts, and although he wasn't called into action very often, made an important save to deny Harimau Muda B when the game was still in the balance.
There were a few defenders worthy of consideration and while both Hougang United's Faizal Amir and Woodlands Wellington's Andy Ahmad are usually seen on the right, it was hard to separate the pair. Both defenders had their hands full with tricky opposition wingers but came out on top in the end.
In the middle, Delwinder Singh was very solid at the back for Courts Young Lions, Fahrudin Mustafic did his usual sound job defending whilst going forward as often as he could for Tampines Rovers, while Wahyudi Wahid again showed good application and maturity; but in the end we settled on Brunei DPMM’s Boris Raspudic and Woodlands Wellington’s Milos Jevtic, in the process needing to leave out the ever-reliable Balestier Khalsa linchpin, Paul Cunningham.
Raspudic was once again an imperious presence in the middle of defence for league leaders DPMM, while Jevtic's goal was spectacular, his contribution at set pieces mirroring that of injured Hougang centreback Igor Cerina.
Of the midfielders Jordan Webb, as expected, posed huge headaches for the Woodlands' defenders, but Tampines Rovers’ Luis Closa showed up well enough in midfield this time to edge out the Canadian while poaching a well-deserved goal off a mistake from Geylang goalkeeper Joey Sim.
Hougang midfielder Azhar Sairudin and Balestier Khalsa’s Park Kang Jin occupy the two central spots, after having solid games. Azhar in particular improved significantly after a couple of average displays, showing off his skills in his best game of the season so far. Constantly diving into challenges to stifle the threat of the skillful Japanese players, he also kept the ball moving to the flanks. The central midfielder was unlucky not to open his account after a terrific free kick that came off the bar.
Brunei DPMM’s Azwan Ali Rahman featured strongly on the left flank against Home United, as did Albirex winger Keisuke Ota down the right in a losing side, but neither could press strong enough claims to keep Tampines Rovers’ Jamil Ali out of the side as the Stags made short work of Geylang. The nippy winger looked dangerous all night, and gave Tampines plenty of width throughout the game.
The strikers were in form again this week.
Miljan Mrdakovic showed his class once more to get the Tampines Rovers’ goal-fest against Geylang under way at Clementi Stadium, shading the effort of Warriors FC's Miroslav Pejic, whose two goals at Choa Chu Kang came very late in the match, including one from the spot, after being shifted from the wings
Hougang’s Brazilian striker Diego Gama proved a real handful for the Albirex defenders and midfield too, showing great physical strength and a good positional sense to hold the ball up and bring others into play.
Up the other end, Albirex striker Kazuki Sakomoto was his usual effervescent self as he looked a huge threat in and around the six-yard box. The 24-year-old took his goal well, but Hougang managed to deny him any further opportunities.
Courts Young Lions’ Shamil Sharif also stood out by scoring twice against Woodlands, but he was not the constant threat either Rodrigo Tosi or Roy O'Donovan were in a week when the DPMM forwards were in good touch.
Tosi lorded it over the Home United defenders to make it three Team of the Week nominations in a row while O'Donovan seemed to be in a groove, displaying impressive aerial superiority and some classy running off the ball to put his stamp on the game.