In an ill-tempered match, Albirex Niigata won the Singapore Community Shield on Sunday coming from a goal down to defeat Tampines Rovers 2-1 at the National Stadium.
In the season-opener, Tampines opened the scoring in the first half through a header by Ryutaro Megumi but that all changed late in the game when Shoichiro Sakamoto scored a brace to hand his side the victory.
HERO SAKAMOTO … #sleague – Shoichiro Sakamoto (11) came in the match as a sub to score this equalizer in the 74th minute before sealed the win for Albirex Niigata (Singapore) to retain the Community Shield and the first three points of the new campaign against Tampines Rovers. #sgfootball #SaveOurSLeague
During the first half defending champions Albirex had some decent scoring opportunities but poor finishing and a lack of composure in front of goal meant their chances came to nothing.
Ryota Nakai was denied by Tampines goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud in the 28th minute when his shot was saved, and then eight minutes later, Albirex captain Subasa Sano was put through on goal but poor ball control allowed Izwan to make the save by smothering the ball.
Tampines took the lead in the 36th minute when Ivan Dzoni crossed the ball from the right flank for Ryutaro to scored with a header past Izwan to make the score 1-0.
Albirex had more chances to equalise on either side of half-time but both Naofumi Tanaka and Kento Nagasaki wasted their opportunities in the box.
In the 57th minute, Tampines should have buried the game when they were awarded a penalty off Madhu Mohana’s corner when defender Daniel Bennett was dragged down by Takuya Akiyama.
Dzoni scored with the penalty kick but was told to retake it by the referee. His second attempt bit the bar and Albirex survived.
Then with 15 minutes to go things changed as substitute Sakamoto slid the ball past keeper Izwan Mahbud to make it all square at 1-1.
In the 82nd minute, Sakamoto was at it again when he scored the second goal when he got in between two defenders to meet Naofumi Tanaka's low cross to score into the bottom corner for Albirex to lead 2-1.
Tampines ended the match with eight men after Yasir Hanapi (two yellow cards), captain Madhu and Ismadi Mukhtar (straight reds) were sent off during the second half.
First ever S-League Football match in Singapore Sports Hub! Ok I'm not a Footballer but playing Football is one of my favourite sports! Congrats @albirexsingapore for winning the Community Shield 2017! Winners wear Hummel ? #sleague #communityshield #albirexniigatasingapore #albirexniigata #hummelsport #hummelsg
Albirex: Takuya Akiyama, Yuuki Yamanouchi, Naofumi Tanaka, Shuto Inaba, Ryota Nakai (Shoma Kondo, 90+1), Hiroyoshi Kamata, Tsubasa Sano (Shoichiro Sakamoto, 60), Kento Nagasaki, Tasutaka Yanagi, Rui Kumada (Ryuya Motodo, 60), Yosuke Nozawa
Tampines: Izwan Mahbud, Ismadi Mukhtar, Fahrudin Mustafic (Jufri Taha, 86), Madhu Mohana, Son Yong Chan, Ryutaro Megumi, Syed Haziq (Hafiz Rahim, 33), Daniel Bennett, Yasir Hanapi, Ivan Dzoni (Khairul Amri, 67), Irwan Shah