SINGAPORE – Anxious to extend his goal tally, Albirex Niigata striker Seia Kunori focused too much on himself in the last few matches. The result? He fired blanks.
But after he changed his mindset to help the team win, his goals also returned on Friday as the Japanese side trounced Balestier Khalsa 6-2 at the Jurong East Stadium to bounce back from Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Lion City Sailors.
Kunori, who scored two goals, ended a four-game goal drought as the White Swans returned to the top of the Singapore Premier League, one point above Tampines Rovers and four ahead of the Sailors. Balestier remain fourth despite the defeat.
Speaking through a translator, Kunori said: “In the last few games, I was too focused on myself, and my intention to help the team win was a bit low. It was pointed out by coach (Kazuaki) Yoshinaga and I changed my mindset to help the team win, and the goals today reflect that.”
The 22-year-old, who took his goal tally to nine, expressed delight to have ended his dry spell, but added that “I could have scored some more. It shows my lack of capability and I want to improve more”.
Albirex coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga said: “This was a must-win game, so however it goes, we wanted to win. If we want to win the title, we cannot lose games in succession.”
The three-time SPL Coach of the Year added that they should have scored more and added that they need to reflect on their defending after conceding two goals.
Balestier caretaker coach Razif Ariff, who took the reins as head coach Peter de Roo is on compassionate leave, rued his side’s tendency to concede goals in quick succession. He said: “Almost every game that we look back after we conceded, we tend to concede again within the next 15 minutes. Again today, the two, three goals that they scored were part of our mistakes, we keep losing the ball and then they they go forward and create the chances.”
Kunori, who scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Balestier in April before his goal drought, took just 21 minutes to score a brace against the same side.
Collecting a lay-off from ...