Team of the Week - S.League Rd 6
Inspired by goalscoring feats across the league this week, FourFourTwo has decided to throw caution to the wind and line up in an adventurous 3-3-4 formation. And why not? With such attacking talents at our disposal, our Team of the Week selection sets out to blow any challengers off the pitch with their sheer firepower.
After narrowing missing out last week, Geylang International’s Joey Sim seemed determined to prove himself this time round. The 27-year-old was an assured figure in goal and repelled a number of long distance shots from the Harimau Muda attackers while his side was holding a two-goal lead. Sim eventually emerged with his second clean sheet in three games and deservedly earns his spot in this week's TOTW.
Meanwhile the other two candidates who came close this week are Warriors FC’s Neezam Aziz and Woodlands Wellington’s Yazid Yasin.
Neezam has grown from strength to strength since his enforced first appearance of the season against Hougang United and was alert to keep out a couple of fierce close-range drives from the Woodlands attackers to ensure a shutout. Meanwhile, veteran custodian Yazid continued his impressive form thus far with a number of acrobatic saves against the Warriors and was unlucky not to keep a clean sheet after an innocuous handball which led to the penalty winner.
Home United’s Kwon Da-Kyung earns the first spot in our three-man defence this round for his commanding display in frustrating the Balestier Khalsa forwards. With his side leading by two goals at the break, the 30-year-old pulled off a spectacular overhead kick clearance on the goalline after his keeper Shahril Jantan failed to deal with Goran Ljubojevic’s close-range shot. That proved crucial as his side eventually grinded out the victory despite a late goal.
Hougang United’s Igor Cerina also gets the nod after putting in an all-action performance to keep out the much-vaunted Tampines Rovers attack. Taking over the captain’s armband in goalkeeper Fadhil Salim’s absence, the 25-year-old led well from the back and made a number of crucial interceptions to limit the threat of marquee man Miljan Mrdakovic as well as the evergreen Aleksandar Duric. Although the Stags eventually found two goals after the break, there was no discounting Cerina’s masterful display.
Albirex Niigata’s Shohei Hotta takes the final slot in defence after playing a sterling role in his side’s come-from-behind win against Tanjong Pagar United. The 25-year-old rarely gave Monsef Zerka and company any room to manoeuvre and to top it all of then inspired his side's eventual recovery after rising the highest to nod home Kazuya Okazaki’s corner.
Worthy mentions also go to the Hougang pair of Wahyudi Wahid and Durica Zuparic. The former kept out the likes of Ang Zhiwei and Jamil Ali from his leftback position while the latter is showing signs of settling into life here with his energy and initiative contributing to the team’s incredible display against the champions. Brunei DPMM’s Boris Raspudic also deserves a shutout for rarely putting a foot wrong in his side’s 6-1 thrashing of Courts Young Lions.
Tom Beattie takes the anchorman role in this TOTW after yet another competent display in the middle of the park for his new club Warriors FC. Alongside Kevin McCann, the 27-year-old provided his usual grit and aggression to nullify the threat of Woodlands playmaker Atsushi Shimono and was unlucky not to open his account for the club after seeing a close-range attempt rake the woodwork.
Flanking Beattie are two electric attackers whose pace and panache inspired their sides to victories. Home United’s Bruno Castanheira is growing into life at his new club and once again was pivotal in his side’s narrow victory against Balestier. Stepping up to convert from 12 yards out after his trickery proved too much for marker Sofiyan Abdul Hamid, he then followed up the first goal by teasing rookie Tajeli Salamat before cutting a low ball across the box for Qiu Li to rifle home.
Along with his goalkeeper Joey Sim, Geylang International skipper Ridhuan Muhammad is one of the only two Singaporeans who find themselves in this week's TOTW. The 29-year-old put on an attacking masterclass against the Young Tigers with his involvement in all three goals. Expert wingplay was at the heart of Leonel Felice’s opener, an acrobatic kung-fu style volley breached the Malaysians’ goal next, while a superb ‘catch-me-if-you-can’ run led to Aliff Shafaein’s killer third goal.
There were also creditable showings from some other midfielders who were unlucky to miss out. DPMM’s Roberto Alviz is starting to show his influence as he lashed home a superb effort inside Syazwan Buhari’s near post as well as providing an assist for the team's fifth goal. Hougang’s Shunsuke Nakatake continues to adapt to life in professional football like fish to water with yet another assured performance in the middle of the park against Tampines, while Tanjong Pagar’s Sebastien Etiemble deserves a shoutout for a hardworking yet ultimately fruitless outing against Albirex.
FFT had little choice but to overload the frontline with four forwards after some top-notch displays. Much to the dismay of LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad though, there were no local forwards who impressed enough to be considered for MSL duty.
Albirex’s Kazuya Okazaki takes the first slot for his classy performance against the Jaguars. His creativity created space for his fellow attackers while his ability to whip in dangerous balls with his deadly left peg from dead-ball situations eventually brought his side level.
Hougang United’s Brazilian duo of Diego Gama and Geison Moura are starting to look like the S.League's star strike partnership too. The former’s raw power and aggression was apparent in the way he took his brace, while the latter’s guile proved too much for the Tampines defence to handle as he also clinically dispatched his two goals.
Have you missed me? DPMM’s Rodrigo Tosi takes the final forward slot after yet another fruitful night in front of goal against the Young Lions. Reacting fastest to nod home a Rosmin Kamis long ball for his first, the Brazilian completed his double by expertly taking down a through ball before rifling inside Syazwan’s near post. His striker partner Roy O’Donovan was unlucky to miss out this week despite similarly landing a brace. A couple of missed opportunities just about prevented him from taking home the match ball.
Meanwhile Warriors FC’s Miroslav Pejic also deserves a shoutout for his tireless performance up front against the Rams as well as the nonchalant way in which he dispatched his spot kick. Last but not least, Albirex’s Kazuki Sakamoto showed his class by coming off the bench to net a delightful winner for his side against the Jaguars.