Garena Young Lions was narrowly defeated 0-1 by Albirex Niigata FC (S) at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night in the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League.
The Young Lions took the game to the visitors from the get-go and came close to taking the lead on 14 minutes, but Haiqal Pashia’s effort from outside the box sailed narrowly over.
Young Lions custodian Zharfan Rohaizad blocked Kento Nagasaki’s snapshot in the 21st minute before Rusyaidi Salime curled an effort which whistled wide of Shuhei Yamada’s right-hand post at the other end moments later.
The White Swans took a one-goal lead into the break as Shuto Inaba played a quick one-two with Hiroyoshi Kamata before lashing an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner in the 33rd minute, with goalscoring opportunities drying up in the final quarter hour of the opening period.
In the second half, the White Swans were reduced to ten men in the 51st minute after their topscorer Tsubasa Sano was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident, while Young Lions captain Illyas Lee and Amirul Adli continued to lead an impenetrable backline to deny the White Swans of scoring opportunities. Nagasaki had a couple of half-chances which failed to trouble Zharfan.
The Young Lions nearly levelled matters 12 minutes from time, but right-back Rusyaidi was denied by Yamada who tipped his fierce shot over at full stretch for a corner.
Illyas had another chance but saw his effort blocked in the 82nd minute, and it was not to be the Young Lions’ night as Albirex Niigata FC (S) hung on for their 15th win of the season.
Garena Young Lions Head Coach Vincent Subramaniam said: “It has been a difficult three months for most of these boys and I had to lift up their spirits and motivate them although there is still a lot of work to do.
“It’s not easy to play against some teams who are down to 10 men as they play even better which was
what happened today. We definitely can learn some lessons from them.
“We play Tampines next, another strong side in Singapore on Tuesday and I am hoping for a similar performance and a positive result.”
Garena Young Lions: Zharfan Rohaizad (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Illyas Lee (C), Amirul Adli, Syahrul Sazali (Faizal Roslan 52’), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Ammirul Emmran (Joshua Pereira 72’), Muhelmy Suhaimi, Haiqal Pashia, Taufik Suparno (Jordan Chan 83’), Zulqarnaen Suzliman