Albirex Niigata dumped Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League defending champions DPMM FC 3-2 to lift the season opening Charity Shield last night at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
“I’m not sure if we can win the league [at this stage] as it is only the first game of the season, but if we can show the performance we did in the first-half, then maybe we can win it,” said Albirex Niigata coach Naoki Nauro afterwards.
The Japanese side continued to dominate and finally found the breakthrough in the 16th minute when right wing-back Mikiya Yamada was left unmarked at the back post and he duly sent the ball into the back of the net.
Albirex doubled their lead in the 36th minute when Kento Nagasaki threaded a fantastic disguised pass into the feet of Kamata from 12-yards out and the latter slotted the ball precisely past DPMM custodian Wardun Yussof.
A corner in the 57th minute led Nagasaki to whip in a curling cross and found defender Naofumi Tanaka, who flicked the ball on at the front post for Kento Fujihara to score from close range after the centre-back had made a storming run into the six-yard box.
Albirex goalkeeper Yosuke Nozawa subsequently gave DPMM a lifeline in the 65th minute when he completely missed the ball while attempting to clear a through pass.
The ball found Azwan, who jumped easily over Nozawa’s desperate sliding tackle to slot the ball into an empty net.
Tanaka turned the ball into his own net in stoppage time after another failed clearance by Nozawa ricocheted into his path.
“We were poor first half and Albirex really controlled the game. The difference between the teams in the first half was that when Albirex had the ball they moved it really quick,” added DPMM coach Steve Kean.