Albirex Niigata retain Singapore Premier League title after 3-2 win over Tanjong Pagar
Albirex Niigata won their sixth Singapore Premier League (SPL) title after a 3-2 victory over Tanjong Pagar at Jurong East Stadium on Friday Night.
The White Swans extended their unbeaten run to 12, with their last loss coming against Lion City Sailors on May 21.
The result confirms Albirex as champions with two games left. They have 56 points, while second-place Sailors have 46 with three matches remaining.
The Japanese side have recorded 18 wins, the most in the league this season, along with two draws and two defeats. They own the league’s best offence (76 goals) and defence (19 conceded), proof of their superiority in all areas.
They were made to sweat early on Friday though, with Tanjong Pagar getting the first clear-cut chance of the game, Syukri Bashir firing wide in the 14th minute with only Hassan Sunny to beat.
Albirex took control three minutes later through Shuto Komaki. The 23-year-old winger received the ball from Sho Fuwa and fired a fierce shot into the top corner.
They had opportunities to extend their lead before the break but efforts from Shodai Yokoyama, Junki Yoshimura, Tadanari Lee and Seia Kunori were either off-target or denied by Jaguars goalkeeper Fashah Iskandar.
Albirex finally got their second in the 52nd minute when Asahi Yokokawa found space down the right flank and his cross was headed home by Lee.
Tanjong Pagar reduced the deficit in the 68th minute as Marin Mudrazija got on the end of Tajeli Salamat’s free-kick but Albirex restored their two-goal lead seven minutes later thanks to substitute Riku Fukashiro.
Croat Mudrazija made it a nervy end with his second goal in the 82nd minute but Albirex held on to spark wild celebrations at the final whistle.
This was Kazuaki Yoshinaga’s fourth title as head coach, with his previous wins coming in 2017, 2018 and 2022.
A sixth league title means Albirex move one ahead of Tampines Rovers and are now Singapore’s second-most successful club. Warriors FC have nine championships.