S.League: Swans' late show

S.League: Swans' late show
Albirex Niigata super-sub Taiyo Nishida grabbing the ball from the net after his injury-time equaliser against Woodlands.

They were just seconds away from their second win of the season, a result that would have propelled them into fourth spot in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League table.

However, Woodlands Wellington had to settle for a point as Albirex Niigata equalised with the last kick to force a 1-1 draw at the Woodlands Stadium on Wednesday night.

Despite the cruel late twist that denied his side a win after a tireless performance, Rams' head coach Darren Stewart couldn't complain about securing a point against a team whom he thinks highly of.

"It's just football, mate. It's something that happens all over the world," said the Australian of the late equaliser.

"To be fair, we were under the pump for the last 20 minutes, so a draw is a decent result.

"The guts and determination defensively from the lads under the pump from a good team like that was brilliant. It was all around hard work and, tonight, we didn't let ourselves down."

After a goalless first half, Chang Jo Yoon needed just a minute after the break to fire Woodlands into the lead.

Elegant

Receiving the ball in the penalty area with his back to goal, the South Korean forward elegantly spun away from his marker before rifling a low shot past Albirex goalkeeper Kenjiro Ogino.

While the home side then had the upper hand for a spell, Albirex recovered from the shock and retaliated, going close on 69 minutes after a goalmouth scramble resulted in a clearance off the line by a Woodlands player.

Rams goalkeeper Yazid Yasin then had to produce two top-drawer saves in the last five minutes, first to deny Kazuya Okazaki's 85th-minute free-kick and then Kento Fujihara's acrobatic snap shot on 90 minutes.

The veteran stopper could do nothing about the equaliser six minutes into added time, however, as substitute Taiyo Nishida popped up to slam home from close range.

While he expected a better performance from his team, Albirex coach Tatsuyuki Okuyama was pleased with the outcome.

"We didn't play well at all today, but at least we could get one point," he said.

"Woodlands got that goal from one chance, so I think Woodlands are a good team.

"Even though we had a very bad game, it was a fair result for us."


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