2017 Singapore S-League
  • Tampines Rovers (71')
  • Albirex Niigata (28', 78', 90')

Albirex go five points clear in S.League after win vs. Stags

Albirex Niigata (S) extended their lead at the top of the S.League to five points on Sunday evening after claiming a 3-1 win over second-placed Tampines Rovers at Jurong West Stadium.

Naofumi Tanaka nodded the White Swans ahead three minutes before the half-hour mark, before Tsubasa Sano doubled their lead shortly after the restart.

The Stags were then reduced to 10 men when Shakir Hamzah was issued his marching orders. But they managed to pull one back through a Son Yong-chan strike in the 71st minute.

However, any hopes of a Stags' comeback were quashed seven minutes later when Sano struck again, before Tanaka also grabbed a second of his own in added time to complete a big win for the visitors.

The victory sees Albirex move five points clear at the summit, with Home United moving to second after a 2-1 victory over Garena Young Lions on Sunday night. They are now seven points above rivals Tampines, and already it looks like they will take some stopping from retaining the S.League crown.

With both sides entering Sunday's clash occupying the top two spots on the table, there was certainly plenty for both sides to play for.

It was the White Swans who drew first blood in the 27th minute. Tanaka ventured forward at a set-piece situation, and made no mistake in meeting Kento Nagasaki's free kick with a header past Joey Sim.

A minute after the restart, they were presented a perfect opportunity to edge further ahead when Sano was brought down inside the area by Shakir Hamzah.

The Albirex striker picked himself up and stepped up to the spot, making no mistake in sending Sim the wrong way for his ninth goal of the campaign.

Already with a mountain to climb, Tampines' cause was not helped three minutes after the hour mark when Shakir clashed with Shoichiro Sakamoto. He swung an arm in retaliation, earning himself a straight red for violent behaviour.

Despite the numerical deficit, the hosts were given a lifeline in the 71st minute when Son was perfectly positioned to net on the rebound after Daniel Bennett had been denied with his initial effort.

Nonetheless, the contest was effectively ended in the seven minutes later when Sano was on target again, embarking on a fine solo run before finishing into the bottom corner.

Just for good measure, Albirex added a fourth in the third minute of injury time. Tanaka found space on the edge of the box and beat Sim with a low drive, capping off a fine evening at the office for the league leaders.

Tampines Rovers: Joey Sim, Ismadi Mukhtar (Jufri Taha 58'), Fahrudin Mustafic, Daniel Bennett, Shakir Hamzah, Fazli Ayob, Son Yong-chan, Shahdan Sulaiman, Ryutaro Megumi, Khairul Amri (Ivan Dzoni 75'), Yasir Hanapi (Zulfadhmi Suzliman 83')

Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa, Rui Kumada, Takuya Akiyama, Yasutaka Yanagi, Naofumi Tanaka, Hiroyoshi Kamata, Shuto Inaba, Kento Nagasaki, Ryota Nakai (Shoma Kondo 90'), Shoichiro Sakamoto (Ryuya Motoda 79'), Tsubasa Sano