Football: Albirex Niigata beat Brunei DPMM 3-2 in S-League Community Shield opener

Atsushi Kawata (no 13) of Albirex Niigata FC tries to head the ball away during the match against Brunei DPMM on Feb 13, 2016.
Atsushi Kawata (no 13) of Albirex Niigata FC tries to head the ball away during the match against Brunei DPMM on Feb 13, 2016.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Albirex Niigata clinched the Great Eastern Community Shield 2016 with a 3-2 win over Brunei DPMM in the S-League's curtain raiser at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.

DPMM, the league's defending champions, were unable to cope with the White Swans' slick passing game in the first half, with last season's top scorer Rafael Ramazotti cutting a forlorn figure up front with only a single shot off target the entire half.

Full-back Mikiya Yamada gave his side the lead by rifling in from close range in the 15th minute, before forward Hiroyoshi Kamata doubled their advantage in the 36th minute.

Centre-back Kento Fujihara made sure of the result by finishing off a corner kick in the 59th minute.

DPMM reduced the deficit through substitute Azwan Ali Rahman, who pounced upon an error by Alberix goalkeeper Eita Kasagawa to slot the ball into an empty goal in the 65th minute.

Another defensive misstep also saw defender Naofumi Tanaka scoring an own goal in the match's dying moments, but it was too little, too late for DPMM.

The Japanese side will next take on the Garena Young Lions in the same stadium on Jan 20, while DPMM will play away at Geylang International on the same day.

Prior to the match, a friendly children's tournament was held in conjunction with league title sponsors Great Eastern's efforts to raise funds for the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. The national cerebral palsy football team also played an exhibition match with ex-internationals such as Fandi Ahmad and Aleksandar Duric.