'This game is not yet finished' - Albirex coach Koichi Sugiyama after his side's home defeat to Tampines Rovers

Despite the loss to Tampines Rovers in the 1st leg of the Singapore Cup quarter-final, Albirex Niigata (S) coach, Koichi Sugiyama, could still muster a smile as he believed the tie is still not over yet.

“This game is not yet finished," said Sugiyama.

"We still have the second-half (2nd leg) to go and now we have to think about the next game.

“We are very confident of getting a result in the return leg and we have to be at our best game.”

Sugiyama added that his team played their usual game and that the loss may be due to some other elements in the game.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with my team today and my team played their normal game against Tampines,” he told Goal.com Singapore.

“The players did commit some mistake and maybe mistakes from the referee too."

Tampines coach, Steven Tan agreed with his counterpart that the tie was not over yet and hoped for his team to remain focused for the next game.

“We will play our game and hopefully we are able to concentrate and work hard enough," said Tan.

"I am sure we will get a goal from somewhere and win the tie.”

Steven expressed delight that his new foreign striker was wasting no time in gelling with the rest of the players.

“Sead Hadzibulic is slowly coming into the team and together with Alek [Duric] and Jamil [Ali], they are beginning to read each other’s game," he added.

“He is a quality player, no doubt about it. He always gives us something extra in the attacking third and today he could have scored in the last few minutes.”

The former national player certainly had done his homework as he had anticipated his opponent's style of play and tactics, saying: “We knew playing against Albirex, we had to do a lot of defending, so more or less I wanted Ahmed Fahmie to work hard and harass the opponent's defensive midfielders.”

“But Fahmie did try his best. Sometime it work and at times it doesn’t and unfortunately we had to take him out after thirty minutes.”

Tan also applauded the contributions of his defender Jufri Taha who had to come into the game minutes before kick-off due to an injury to Fahrudin Mustafic.

“Jufri Taha did very well," he said of the goalscorer.

"He knows our style of play. So it’s only a matter of getting the match rhythm and after fifteen minutes, he comfortably settled himself in the game and finally he got a goal.”

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