Singapore Premier League: Albirex win 6th title, Sailors seal 2nd place

White Swans continue recent dominance of the league, losing just twice all season in retaining title over Lion City Sailors

Albirex Niigata (Singapore) players celebrate scoring during their title-clinching win over Tanjong Pagar United in the Singapore Premier League. (PHOTO: SPL)
Albirex Niigata (Singapore) players celebrate scoring during their title-clinching win over Tanjong Pagar United in the Singapore Premier League. (PHOTO: SPL)

SINGAPORE — Albirex Niigata (Singapore) continued their recent dominance of the Singapore Premier League (SPL), sealing their sixth title in eight years with a 3-2 victory over Tanjong Pagar United at Jurong East Stadium on Friday (11 August).

The defending champions continued to set the benchmark for consistency, losing just twice out of 22 matches throughout the season, and going unbeaten since 12 May in their march towards retaining the title.

The White Swans have 56 points with two games left, an unassailable five points ahead of second-placed Lion City Sailors who have played a game more. They also have the joint-best scoring record (76 goals with Sailors) and the best defensive record (19 goals conceded).

Against Tanjong Pagar, Albirex went ahead in the 17th minute, courtesy of a superb long-range shot by Shuto Komaki. Veteran forward Tadanari Lee doubled their advantage in the 52nd minute, heading home a dangerous cross from the right flank by Shodai Yokoyama.

Tanjong Pagar's Croatian forward Marin Mudrazija narrowed the deficit in the 68th minute, tapping in from close range. However, Riku Fukashiro restored Albirex's two-goal advantage when he ghosted in from the left to slam home from close range in the 76th minute.

Mudrazija rounded off the scoring with another close-range shot in the 82nd minute, but Albirex held firm to seal their SPL triumph.

Lion City Sailors enjoy high-scoring win

The Sailors also sealed their second consecutive second-place finish, after an 8-2 thrashing of Hougang United at Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday.

Goals from Diego Lopes (11th minute), Abdul Rasaq (24th), Richairo Zivkovic (47th, 74th), Christopher van Huizen (61st), Maxime Lestienne (78th, 83rd) and Haiqal Pashia (92nd) gave the Sailors their fourth win on the trot.

Naoki Kuriyama (27th) and Gabriel Quak (68th) scored for sixth-placed Hougang, who missed the chance to overtake Geylang International, who slumped to a 2-6 defeat by Balestier Khalsa at Our Tampines Hub on Saturday.

Balestier, who are enjoying their best SPL season in fourth place, took advantage of two Geylang red cards to score through Daniel Goh (4th, 45th), Shuhei Hoshino (29th), Muhammad Syukri (75th), Masahiro Sugita (82nd) and Ryoya Taniguchi (84th).

Geylang replied through Iqbal Hussain (22nd and 68th), but lost Ahmad Syahir and Naufal Azman though straight dismissals in the second half.

Brunei's DPMM FC climbed over Tanjong Pagar into seventh spot in the SPL table after a 2-0 win over bottom-placed Young Lions, with Nazirrudin Haji Ismail (67th, 94th) scoring both goals.

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