Albirex Niigata FC Singapore came to the match looking for 3 points to close the gap against league leaders Lion City Sailors. Albirex Niigata lined up in a 4-1-4-1, often they build up in a 3-man or 2-man defense as Balestier Khalsa sat deep in their half. The match was dominated by Albirex and came away with a result of a 4-1 win.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, re-watch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Singaporean
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 08/11/2002
- Club: Albirex Niigata Singapore
- Career: Young Lions FC, Albirex Niigata Singapore
- Position: Centre Forward
- Secondary position: Attacking Midfielder
- Preferred foot: Right
Ilhan Fandi, the younger brother of both Ikhsan and Irfan Fandi had a fantastic display against Balestier Khalsa. The local top scorer of the league was deployed as the lone centre-forward in Albirex’s 4-1-4-1 formation. He was used as a target man who would contest for any short or long passes and tries to link up play with his teammates. He mainly stayed centrally as he looks to make runs or wait for any services to be delivered in the box.
His first proper involvement was a sensational bicycle kick which left Balestier’s goalkeeper rooted to the spot as it bounce into the left bottom corner. He positions himself in the defender’s blindspot before adjusting his body to acrobatically score a superb goal. He was found in the right place and time at the back post to score his 2nd goal, which was headed into the net unmarked. His hat-trick goal came when a deep cross was crossed in, it created some confusion between the Balestier Khalsa’s defender and goalkeeper, and Ilhan makes no mistake by capitalizing on a free header into an empty net. Ilhan had many chances on that day, and he could have scored 1 or 2 more goals. The centre-forward positions himself well in goalscoring positions as he looks to get more shots toward the goal. He was then substituted shortly after his hat-trick goal.
When Ilhan tries to get involved, he’ll slightly drop from his position to link up play. He’ll flick it to his teammates and starts to position himself forward. He identifies the space and gets into areas where he can receive the ball. His movements in the box are good too, spacing himself in the defender’s blindside and making front or back post runs. The centre-forward doesn’t look quick in accelerating short distances due to his stature. Ilhan has bulked himself up over the years and shown great strength to hold up play and outmuscle his defenders. He could still improve himself in aerial duels but he is really good in his ground duels. In this match, I did not see much of Ilhan’s passing and dribbling but it looks like he was tactically instructed by his coach to stay central and up top. He was partly at fault for Albirex’s conceded goal as he was too eager to head away the ball, which left his marker with the space to shoot for a consolation goal.
Rating – A2
Ilhan Fandi put in a solid display and earned himself a deserved hat-trick. He placed himself in many goalscoring positions and was hungry to score more. However against better defensive oppositions, he needs to finish his chances. It is a matter of time before he plays abroad like his brothers.