SINGAPORE - Albirex Niigata won their first S-League title on Friday (Oct 14) and they remain on track to winning an unprecedented treble of domestic trophies this year.
The Japanese developmental side beat Hougang United 3-0 at Jalan Besar Stadium to become the second successive foreign team to lift the S-League trophy. Brunei DPMM won the title last year.
The White Swans had entered the match needing a win to seal the title, and they took just eight minutes to race to a 2-0 lead.
Striker Atsushi Kawata scored his 13th league goal of the season in the fourth minute while midfielder Masaya Jitozono scored from a free kick in the eighth minute.
Hougang never looked like they would pose any resistance to stall Albirex's title bid, allowing their opponents to find gaps in their defence frequently. Rui Kumada added a third goal in the 32nd minute for Albirex and even at that early stage, it looked all over for the championship race.
The match was temporarily suspended for 40 minutes due to inclement weather in the 52nd minute.
The victory at Jalan Besar gave Albirex (50 points), who have two games remaining, an unassailable 10-point lead over third-placed Tampines Rovers.
The Stags are the only team in the nine-team standings who had a mathematical chance of catching up with the league leaders and they play bottom side Garena Young Lions on Saturday (Oct 15).
Albirex are nine points ahead of second-placed Brunei DPMM (41 points), who have played one game more.
Albirex won the League Cup in July and they will face Tampines in the Singapore Cup final on Oct 29.
In the the night's other fixture, Geylang International came from behind to beat Warriors FC 2-1. Strikes by Safirul Sulaiman (73rd minute) and Sahil Suhaimi (77th) gave the Eagles full points, after Fazli Jaffar gave Warriors the lead in the 52nd minute.
Geylang move up to 31 points but remain sixth behind Home United on goal difference while nine-time champions Warriors complete their campaign seventh on 25 points.