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The Albirex Niigata coach was unhappy his side failed to turn dominance into three points, as Geylang coach Vedhamuthu Kanan admitted relief at getting a rather fortunate draw

Albirex Niigata left their fate of qualifying to the League Cup quarter-finals in the hands of Hougang United and Geylang International after they were held to a goalless draw by the latter at the Jurong East Stadium on Saturday evening. 

It was their second consecutive goalless draw, after a repeat scoreline three days earlier at Hougang Stadium.

It was no surprise then that White Swans coach Koichi Sugiyama expressed his unhappiness with the result after the game, as he felt his team should have snatched all three points given their sheer dominance in it.

“We should have won the match and I am not satisfied with the point," he bluntly said.

“My team had lots of chances and even hit the posts. I feel that Takuma Ito and Norihiro Kawakami is the best players for them [Geylang] and prevented us from getting the win.

“There is nothing we can do about the last match between Geylang and Hougang but if we get to the next stage, we will do our best.”

It was a different sight at the Eagles camp as coach Vedhamuthu Kanan heaved a sigh of relief and acknowledged that his opponents could have won the match. 

“We got the point but it was a very tough game and we were a bit lucky as Albirex is a better team and I am happy as we could have lost," he said.

“We defended well as a team but they hit the posts twice and we had only one clear chance and other than that, they dominated the game.” 

Kanan had hoped that his team could have ventured out in attack more, but accepted the fact that the might of the White Swans made that difficult in the end.

“I was surprised as my players were sitting very deep and maybe Albirex had [an] extra gear on and the last time we played against them, we created havoc but not today," he said, referring to a 2-2 draw earlier in the S.League.

“[In the] the first half, I told them to push up but Wahyudi [Wahid] today is off colour and did not work much and when that happens, the midfield will be affected.

“If we start working from the front, the midfield will have the space to attack.” 

Albirex have now collected two points from both their Group C matches, while Geylang will next host Hougang on June 11 at the Bedok Stadium.

Should the Eagles and Cheetahs play out yet another goalless draw, the top two spots will be determined by the number of yellow and red cards collected.

The team with the least number of cards will top the group, while the team with the worst disciplinary record will be placed bottom.

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