Singapore Premier League Team of the Week 18: Zaiful to the rescue

Kelvin Leong

Shahril Ishak and Izzdin Shafiq had a week to remember but it was Balestier’s Zaiful Nizam who stood tall in goal. Find out who made FOX Sports Asia’s Singapore Premier League (SPL) Team of the Week 18.

The week’s action started in Brunei where Albirex Niigata FC S emerged 3-1 victors against Brunei DPMM before Geylang International sealed a 2-2 draw against the Wasps four days later.

Sunday saw three games played concurrently and it was Home United who almost caused the biggest upset of the season when they led 1-0 through a Shahril Ishak goal against Albirex, only to see the White Swans snatch a last-gasp equaliser.

Balestier Khalsa managed a 1-0 home win over Young Lions while Tampines Rovers maintained their grip on second spot with a 1-0 victory over Hougang United at Our Tampines Hub.

Find out who were the best 11 players in the SPL from Week 18.

Singapore Premier League Team of the Week

Singapore Premier League Team of the Week 18

Zaiful Nizam (Balestier Khalsa) – Put in a superb shift to clinch only his third clean sheet of the season. Save after save, Zaiful refused to let the ball go past him. The pick of the bunch was recovering to make a save from a point-blank header from Hami Syahin, after he was left sprawling on the floor trying to make a save from Rusyaidi Salime’s free-kick.

Irwan Shah (Tampines Rovers) – A solid performance by the left-back, who put his years of experience to good use by neutralising the threat of Hougang right winger Antoine Viterale. It was also his persistence on the left byline that led to his side’s winning goal.

Shakir Hamzah (Home United) – The centre-back was a huge reason why Home were able to keep Albirex at bay for 93 minutes. Kept top scorer Shuhei Hoshino in his pocket and even found opportunities to contribute in the attacking third. Another assured showing from Shakir, who continues to mature under Aidil Sharin’s tutelage, although he was one of the defenders caught out right at the death that led to Albirex’s equaliser.

Fahrudin Mustafic (Tampines Rovers) – He may be getting on in age, but the veteran defender is still one of the best defenders in the SPL. Did not give a yard to Hougang lone forward Chang Jo Yoon and stood out with a number of key interceptions. The man affectionately known as Farra to Singapore football fans could go on forever!

Jufri Taha (Geylang International) – Jufri was standing in as captain for the suspended Yuki Ichikawa and he was a steady influence in defence. Led bye xample, putting his body on the line on a number of occasions. Was a key reason the Eagles left Brunei with a point in the bag.

Wataru Murofushi (Albirex Niigata FC S) – The Albirex captain keeps delivering when the odds are stacked against his side. Provided the assist for Hoshino’s equaliser against DPMM in midweek and then struck a last-gasp leveller to rescue his side against Home and preserve their unbeaten record.

Izzdin Shafiq (Home United) – The Home captain was arguably the best player on the pitch, something that not many players can claim to be when up against Albirex. His incisive passes and ability to hold onto the ball or find his teammates at the right time helped Home to relieve pressure from the White Swans when they needed it.

Azhar Sairudin (Geylang International) – The veteran playmaker controlled the midfield in the absence of star midfielder Fumiya Kogure. His passing range was a joy to watch and he duly provided the assists for both of Geylang’s goals against Brunei.

Jordan Webb (Tampines Rovers) – Known for his exploits as a skillful winger, Webb has been utilised as a central midfielder for the Stags this season. The transition may not have been an easy one but the Canadian forward has grown from strength to strength.

Adi Said (Brunei DPMM) – This has arguably been one of Adi’s best seasons in the SPL. Has been the main attacking source for DPMM in most games and scored a goal while earning his side a penalty this week. The Bruneian has definitely gone up a few levels from the last campaign.

Shahril Ishak (Home United) – Named on the bench for the first time this season in the league, Shahril took just three minutes to make an impact after coming on at the restart. The 34-year-old reacted quickest to Faizal Roslan’s long ball and fashioned a one-on-one opportunity against Yohsuke Nozawa, before coolly lobbing the goalkeeper.

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