And we are back with yet another weekend of football filled fun. Matchday 13 sees more action but we wanted to wait till the end of the Lion City Sailors and Tampines Rovers match before making our selections. However, that match got called off and instead, these are the contenders worthy to be included in this week’s Team Of The Week!
Takahiro Koga [GK]
Hougang United are truly their best against the other top half teams and it was more of the same this week. While Kishon Phillip terrorized defences and managed to slot one past Koga, the Japanese custodian stood firm and barring Kishon Philip’s goal, he managed to deny the Hougang offence. An overall commendable performance, the towering Koga makes the cut for this week’s team of the week.
It’s only his third ever professional appearance but Ilhan Noor has already registered two goals to his name following his brace against Tanjong Pagar United. The tall and lanky right-back helped unleash the floodgates after flicking the ball into the back of the net early on. He would later pump the ball forward for Amy Recha to chase but Shakir Hamzah ended up scoring an own goal from it after some miscommunication with Zharfan Rohaizad. Ilhan would then score again in the 37th minute with a simple tap in. Some might say it was an easy goal but hey, you have to admit that he was at the right place and at the right time to score it.
It’s good to see Afiq Yunos play regularly once again and clearly, the move to Geylang International is benefitting him and the Eagles. The central defender regularly snuffed out Tanjong Pagar’s attacking movements with his precise tackling and sheer physicality. Geylang have looked weak at the back this season. I previously thought it was due to the defensive organization but perhaps they just needed a new green mean fighting machine in the form of Afiq.
It seems those Edge Of The Box sessions have helped him and his brother.
I can’t agree more with Kim Ng. Ryhan Stewart operates a lot like Rory Delap. Besides his ability to execute Delap-like throw-ins, which is a huge asset to any team, Ryhan has an incredible work rate and tenacity. He isn’t going to shy away from a challenge and if you give him the ball, he’ll dart down the flank and contribute in whatever way he can to help his team in attack. He may only be 21 years old but don’t let his age fool you, he has multiple games under his belt. Also, this is a first for our team of the week series because both Stewart brothers feature in this week’s edition.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Young Lions are an infinitely better side when Harhys Stewart turns out for them. A constant presence in the middle of the park and someone who stabilizes the midfield, he is the ideal complement to a creative genius like Joel Chew. Harhys scored the third goal of the evening, which also turned out to be the game’s winning one. However, as I mentioned, his tenacity and work rate make him stand out. As one player that has certainly matured over the course of this season, he has an excellent chance to demonstrate his prowess to the rest of Southeast Asia in the upcoming SEA Games (should it continue of course).
No Tsuboi, No Problem.
The White Swans have once again demonstrated they can score goals from multiple other players whose first name isn’t Kiyoshiro. Albirex Niigata clawed back from a goal down to win a resilient Hougang United 2-1. While Takahiro Tezuka and Kuraba Kondo scored brilliant chips to secure Albirex their victory, it was Ryoya Taniguchi that found both players and his role cannot be overstated. In Tsuboi’s absence, he is really stepping up to supply important passes for his teammates to find the back of the net.
The Balestier – Young Lions game was truly the Hami Syahin show as the midfield maestro demonstrated why he is one of Singapore’s best bright prospects yet again. He broke the deadlock after a composed strike from the penalty spot. He would later dazzle with his dribbling and pick out Harhys Stewart in the 85th minute who puts it past Zaiful Nizam to make it 3-1 for the Young Lions. Hami has been a lynchpin for the Young Lions and he is truly staking his claim for a spot on that AFF Suzuki Cup team later this year.
He may not have had the best first half but Kristina’s Krajček was a different man in the second half. While he technically only registered one assist, I’d consider him having assisted both of Balestier’s goals. After all, the Croatian played a massive role in helping Hazzuwan Halim score and bring the Tigers back into the fray. Young Lions custodian Ridhwan Fikri could not completely keep out a powerful shot by Krajček. Ridhwan’s save caused the ball to land on Hazzuwan’s feet and the player duly converted his chance. Later on, in the dying embers of the match, the Croatian would pick out fellow Croatian Šime Žužul with an excellent pass and while the move ended with a goal, it was too little too late for the Tigers.
Daniel Goh has grown out his hair which probably means Basic Military Training is finally behind him. The pacey winger has capped off this new phase by scoring his first goal of the season and it tastes good. Daniel has posed a problem for opposition teams this season with his electric pace and wizardry but has yet to cap his performances with a goal. Finally, that goal has arrived in a Young Lions uniform and you know for a fact that Daniel is hungry for more.
Idraki Adnan’s injury is rather unfortunate for the Cheetahs but as I’ve mentioned in podcasts and articles before, they are blessed with depth. Kishon Philip slotted into Idraki’s role perfectly and was a menace to the reigning SPL champions. Besides being a nuisance to the Albirex backline, Kishon also managed to score a goal – his first-ever professional goal no less! With Idraki reportedly out till the end of the season, we will see much more of Kishon this campaign and while he is still raw, he clearly has immense potential. Hougang United head coach Clement Teo should have kept the winger on in the second half against the White Swans. Maybe then, they’d have found an equalizer.
The wonderkid scored a delightful chip against Izwan Mahbud and is demonstrating why he has a bright future ahead of him. Only 19 years old, the Japanese winger scored his 5th goal of the season. It’s even more impressive given that he has only played a total of 422 minutes in 8 games. Usually coming off the bench, Kondo has developed a reputation as an impact sub but against Hougang United, he played the entire duration of the fixture. A maverick of a player, expect to see him score more goals before the end of the season.
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