Albirex Niigata (S) edged Hougang United 1-0 on Friday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium with a show of accurate passing and a perfect finish by Takeshi Nagasawa, and could have won by more if it was not for the heroics of Hougang goalkeeper Fadhil Salim and a missed penalty
At the press conference after the game, Albirex coach Koichi Sugiyama was visibly pleased with his team’s performance.
“I have no problems with my players as we controlled the game today and I would say that they did a good job,” he said.
Sugiyama also felt that Hougang were a tough side to play against, and he specifically lauded midfielder Shingo Suzuki for covering the left-back position superbly.
“I appreciate what Suzuki has done for the team and am very proud of him,” he said, before adding that he was already planning on a strategy for their next game against Brunei DPMM.
Hougang United coach Alexander Weaver, on the other hand, was disappointed with the defeat and conceded that Albirex were a good side and they lost to a good goal.
“We gave the Japanese too much respect and failed to close them down fast," he lamented.
“The game was lost with a fantastic shot from a great player.”
The Englishman was nonetheless pleased with the Cheetahs' second-half retaliation, which pushed the White Swans back.
“We finished the stronger team even though our passing was not good enough [but] in the end, we deserved what we got,” Weaver said.