SINGAPORE: Albirex Niigata won the Singapore Premier League (SPL) on Friday (Oct 7) after defeating defending champions Lion City Sailors FC in a top-of-table clash.
Heading to Jalan Besar Stadium with a four-point lead, a victory would seal a fifth league title with two matches to play.
Albirex rose to the occasion with a 4-2 win against the second-placed Lion City Sailors, driven by a hat-trick from SPL top scorer Kodai Tanaka, who took his season's tally to 31 goals.
Nineteen-year-old Ilhan Fandi also made the scoresheet, opening proceedings with a well-taken volley in the fifth minute.
Albirex Niigata added to their previous four league triumphs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020, capping a late resurgence to the season after not having topped the table after a Matchweek until the 24th round.
Despite the disappointment of losing the title at their home ground, the result confirmed a qualifying berth in the East Region for next season’s Asian Football Confederation Champions League for the Lion City Sailors.