SINGAPORE - The odds were against them but Tampines Rovers brought Albirex Niigata's 10-match winning run to a halt when they picked up a 1-0 victory at Jurong West Stadium on Friday (June 24).
A Fazrul Nawaz shot, deflected off defender Mikiya Yamada, somehow found the net in the 80th minute and gifted the Stags an all important win over the league leaders.
The result also meant second-placed Tampines (34 points) reduced the White Swans' lead to just four points with eight games remaining.
It was a tightly-contested affair but the Stags, arguably the hungrier team, piled on the pressure on the visitors.
The deadlock was finally broken when Fazrul controlled a short lobbed pass from Shakir Hamzah and turned Yamada to shoot. The Japanese defender's attempt to block was in vain as the ball bounced off him to loop into the net.
In Friday's other match, reigning champions Brunei DPMM beat Balestier Khalsa 4-1 at Jalan Besar Stadium for their first away victory this season.