Singapore Premier League • February 23, 2019
Home United defeat Albirex to win AIA Community Shield
AIA Community Shield 2019, Jalan Besar Stadium
Albirex Niigata (S) 0-0 Home United
Home win 5-4 on penalties
SINGAPORE, 23 FEBRUARY 2019 – It was fourth time lucky for Home United on Saturday night as they trumped Albirex Niigata (S) on penalties to win their first ever Community Shield.
Rebranded as the AIA Community Shield after the leading life insurer’s two-year title sponsorship of the Singapore Premier League (SPL) was announced prior to the kick-off, Hami Syahin emerged as the Protectors’ hero with the winning spot-kick after the game finished goal-less.
The victory was achieved despite them being shorn of key duo Song Uiyoung and Isaka Cernak, and could be seen as a statement of intent from Home, who are eyeing their first SPL title since 2003.
“It is going to be challenging but from the beginning (when I took over), I already told the boys that we will be going for the title,” head coach Sasawadimata Dasuki said.
“Tampines (Rovers) and Hougang (United) have also beefed up their squads, and we have AFC Cup (commitments), so we have to take care of ourselves physically and mentally (in order to challenge).”
The former Singapore international also lauded his team for “giving everything” in the match, noting that it “augurs well” for the season.
Home were the more enterprising side and pinned a new-look Albirex side back for the opening 20 minutes or so, with Adam Swandi’s trickery and captain Izzdin Shafiq’s penetrative passing causing trouble.
But they did not threaten Kengo Fukudome’s goal too much and were indebted to Rudy Khairullah for thwarting Daizo Horikoshi and Kyoga Nakamura.
The second half was a tamer affair and a mesmerising run from Nakamura aside, neither side looked particularly capable of breaking the deadlock.
When it came time for the penalty shootout, Aqhari Abdullah and Faritz Hameed were both denied by Fukudome after Hiroyoshi Kamata had seen his effort saved by Rudy.
But Ryo Nakano crashed his spot-kick against the bar to give Home a way back and after Abdil Qaiyyim’s successful conversion meant sudden death, Naruki Takahashi smashed his effort off the woodwork to pave the way for Hami (above, celebrating) to make history in the 12th edition of the clash.
“It was a very difficult game for us and we knew it could be decided by (just) one goal; in the end, it went to penalties,” said Albirex head coach Keiji Shigetomi.
Defeat meant Albirex failed to equal Tampines Rovers’ record of four Shield titles, while Home will hope that victory is a signifier of bigger trophies to come this year.
- This was only the second time that a Shield match went to penalties; both times, Home have been involved (in 2008, they lost to Singapore Armed Forces FC).
- This is the first time a Shield match has ended goal-less after full-time.
- Since 2015, Albirex have won 13 of the 15 trophies on offer; Home is the first side to break that streak.
- Home have won their first silverware since lifting the Singapore Cup in 2013.
- Adam Swandi is the second player to win back-to-back Shields with two different clubs after Ahmad Latiff (2010 with Singapore Armed Forces FC, 2011 with Tampines Rovers).