Albirex win fourth Singapore League Cup after Warriors miss penalty

Albirex Niigata (S) took advantage of a missed penalty to become the first four-time champions of the Singapore League Cup after toiling to a 1-0 extra-time triumph over Warriors FC in Friday's final at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Tsubasa Sano was the hero for the White Swans as he netted the only goal of the game in the 111th minute after his side has struggled to break down the stubborn Warriors.

But the Singapore side had a chance for glory by earning a penalty nine minutes before the end of regulation time. However, Jordan Webb's spot kick was saved by Albirex goalkeeper Yosuke Nozawa

The Japanese outfit have now moved ahead of Brunei DPMM FC as the most successful in League Cup history.

The victory also further emphasises their recent dominance. The Japanese outfit have now won the last seven pieces of silverware on offer in Singapore football.

Still, given they entered Friday's clash as favourites, Albirex could perhaps feel that they should have claimed the victory in more emphatic fashion.

Instead, it was Warriors who created the better chances in the first half. White Swans' custodian Nozawa had to be alert to deny Webb and Shahril Ishak in the opening 10 minutes.

Hafiz Nor and Ho Wai Loon both also had decent openings but failed to hit the target, while Nozawa again was called into action to keep out an Andrei Ciolacu effort.

On the other hand before halftime, Albirex's only real chance was a Sano header from Hiroyoshi Kamata's that was cleverly tipped wide by Hyrulnizam Juma'at.

However, they came excruciatingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 50th minute. Sano was set up by Ryota Nakai, only for the striker to be denied brilliantly by Hyrulnizam's reflex save.

As the game entered its closing stages, it then looked as though Warriors were about to pull off a remarkable triumph when they won a penalty in the 81st minute after Hafiz's shot was handled inside the area.

But it was not to be as Nozawa pulled off a fine stop to deny Webb from 12 yards before Shahril somehow fired the rebound over when it was probably easier to score, ushering in another 30 minutes of extra-time.

In the end, that missed opportunity proved costly as Sano notched his fourth goal of the cup campaign in the 111st minute.

Having had a fine game up to that point, Hyrulnizam would be slightly disappointed that he was unable to hold onto a Ryuya Motoda cross, allowing Sano to pounce on the loose ball and win the League Cup for the White Swans.

Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa, Rui Kumada, Yasutaka Yanagi, Takuya Akiyama, Naofumi Tanaka, Hiroyoshi Kamata, Shuto Inaba (Yuki Yamanouchi 105'), Kento Nagasaki, Ryota Nakai (Kouki Sato 72') Shoichiro Sakamoto (Ryuya Motoda 70'), Tsubasa Sano

Warriors FC: Hyrulnizam Juma'at, Emmeric Ong, Baihakki Khaizan, Kento Fukuda, Zulfadli Zainal (Ridhuan Muhamad 96'), Syaqir Sulaiman (Shaiful Esah 66'), Ho Wai Loon (Firdaus Karman 88'), Hafiz Nor, Shahril Ishak, Jordan Webb, Andrei Ciolacu