Albirex sign off S.League campaign in style
White Swans hammer Eagles in five-star performance to end league campaign
With just three minutes left, Geylang International's Gabriel Quak seemed to swing a frustrated boot out at an orange shirt, but that boot only hit the air.
Meanwhile, an Albirex Niigata defender had long vacated the space, zooming forward on another marauding attack.
|GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL||ALBIREX NIIGATA|
|(Shahfiq Ghani 45-pen, Yuki Ichikawa 79)||(Kento Nagasaki 14, 67, Hiroyoshi Kamata 28, Tsubasa Sano 32, 44, 60, Yasutaka Yanagi 74)|
That has been the story in this Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League season. The Japanese side were just too quick, too fit, too good and almost impossible to catch.
The champions proved it again against Geylang International at the Jalan Besar Stadium last night, running out 7-2 winners in what was a dead rubber.
Said Geylang coach Noor Ali: "They were absolutely brilliant, and it was the longest 90 minutes of my career, as a player and a coach.
"I just wanted the game to end. I was just sitting down and watching them score goals.
"For me, they've set the standard for the league, and we've got to catch up, bring the quality of our football up to theirs.
[Yes, if we don't win (the Singapore Cup) it will feel like a job unfinished.Albirex Niigata coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga, on their plans to repeat a four-trophy sweep
"If you can't beat them, join them. We must learn from them. We can't blame them for being good, we're just not good enough," added the former Singapore international.
Albirex have already sewn up three of the four domestic titles on offer, and only one match stands between them and a second consecutive sweep of local football trophies - the RHB Singapore Cup final against Philippine side Global Cebu on Nov 25.
They were absolutely brilliant, and it was the longest 90 minutes of my career, as a player and a coach.Geylang coach Noor Ali
If Albirex's drive for excellence was not clear enough on the pitch last night, the words of coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga slammed home the point.
While he smiled broadly as he showed gratitude to fans, sponsors and organisers and paid tribute to the professionalism of goalkeeper Yosuke Nozawa, Yoshinaga turned serious when asked about the Singapore Cup final.
He said: "Yes, if we don't win (the Singapore Cup) it will feel like a job unfinished."
Noor Ali, though, was still not done with his praises.
"They showed tonight that they are worthy champions, they are just too good," he said.
"Even though they've already won the championship before the game, (Yoshinaga) was angry that they conceded two goals against us," he said.
LAST NIGHT'S OTHER RESULT:
Warriors FC 1 Hougang United 1