Jonathan Béhé’s fifth goal of the season was not enough to lead Warriors FC to their first victory of the 2018 season as they fell 2-1 to leaders Albirex Niigata (S) in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Sunday.

Shuhei Hoshino meanwhile, struck a brace on either side of half-time to make it seven wins in as many games for the White Swans, leaving the hosts still win-less after eight matches played.

It could have been a dream start for Warriors just seven minutes in when Kaishu Yamazaki’s stray pass found its way to Ho Wai Loon. His cut-back found Ammirul Emmran, but the midfielder scuffed his shot.

However, Albirex found the breakthrough on 20 minutes when Kenya Takahashi crossed low for Hoshino to fire past Warriors goalkeeper Mukundan Maran.

Behe came close to pulling level for Warriors eight minutes later but his tame shot off Tajeli Salamat’s knock-down was straight at Yohsuke Nozawa.

Albirex continued where they left off after the restart and nearly doubled their lead through Taku Morinaga and Hoshino.

The hosts conjured their best chance of the game on 63 minutes. Following a good passage of play, Béhé scooped the ball just over after getting onto another Tajeli knock-down.

Sahil Suhaimi was then introduced for Ammirul in an attempt to inject attacking impetus and the former nearly netted two minutes after coming on, but his effort was straight at Nozawa.

Warriors were made to pay for their profligacy as Hoshino nodded home Hiroyoshi Kamata’s right-wing cross past a stranded Mukundan to make it 2-0in the 71st minute.

The hosts pulled one back through Béhé with 11 minutes left, with the Frenchman poking one past Nozawa from close range after being teed up by substitute Sahil Suhaimi.

Mirko Grabovac’s side pushed numbers forward in an attempt to salvage a point and had a late penalty call turned down. It however proved too little, too late as they fell to their third loss of the season.

Warriors – who are in seventh with five points from eight games – will next face Geylang International FC at the National Stadium next Sunday in search of their first win of the campaign.

Despite the defeat, Warriors Head Coach Grabovac was satisfied with the performance of his charges.

“I thought we gave Albirex a good fight today. Our set-pieces improved and they worked very hard against a quality team who are technically good,” he said. “It was an excellent game with many chances for both teams and I’m sure a performance like this will get us the three points soon.”

It was an excellent game with many chances for both teams and I’m sure a performance like this will get us the three points soon.

“Today you could see that Béhé is still dangerous despite just returning from injury and we could have gotten a point if we were lucky. However, we made two mistakes at the back and were punished for that.”

Warriors: Mukundan Maran (GK), Emmeric Ong, Ismadi Mukhtar, Hafiz Sulaiman, Shamil Sharif (Ignatius Ang 75’), Suria Prakash (Firdaus Kasman 46’), Poh Yi Feng (C), Ammirul Emmran (Sahil Suhaimi 68’), Tajeli Salamat, Ho Wai Loon, Jonathan Béhé

Unused subs: Fashah Iskandar (GK), Fazli Shafie, Nur Luqman, Fadhil Noh

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