Albirex’s appeal ‘incomplete’, so Tanaka trails Kopitovic by one goal in Golden Boot race, Latest Singapore Football News - The New Paper
Singapore Football

Albirex’s appeal ‘incomplete’, so Tanaka trails Kopitovic by one goal in Golden Boot race

Kodai Tanaka will not be credited with Albirex Niigata’s final goal in their 5-3 defeat by Tampines Rovers, after the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) revealed on Monday that the White Swans’ appeal was incomplete.

In a contentious incident in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) match on Saturday, Taanaka’s 85th-minute header off Masaya Idetsu’s corner was directed towards goal and diverted past goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari by Tampines defender Ryaan Sanizal. Referee Ahmad A’Qashah attributed this as an own goal in his report.

This meant that Japanese forward, who had scored in the 54th minute, trailed Stags striker Boris Kopitovic by one goal in the Golden Boot race. The Montenegrin had grabbed a brace in the same match to take his season’s tally to 33 goals.

Albirex filed an appeal with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to have the goal attributed to Tanaka, but the FAS said the appeal did not meet the requirements specified under SPL regulations, which state that the protest, to be signed by a club official, has to be lodged in writing with the FAS competitions department within 48 hours after the match, with a $2,000 deposit.

Aloysius Vetha, FAS director of competitions, said: “The club was notified to re-submit its complete appeal but as of the deadline today, the FAS has not received the complete submission.

“Therefore, the club’s appeal has been rendered as invalid and the match referee’s decision stands.”

The White Swans acknowledged the outcome, and Tanaka is fired up to make up for the deficit in their final SPL match of the season when the champions return to Our Tampines Hub to visit Geylang International on Friday.

The 22-year-old, who scored a hat-trick in an 8-2 win over the Eagles in May, said: “The team come first for me, and I will do my best to score more goals to first help my team win the match. It would be an honour if I can do enough to win the SPL topscorer award.”

Tanaka will know exactly what he has to do as he plays his match one day after Kopitovic’s Tampines take on Tanjong Pagar at the same venue on Thursday, with the 27-year-old Montenegrin having scored two goals in three matches against the Jaguars this term.

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