News Singapore Premier League • October 10, 2021
Lion City Sailors are 2021 AIA Singapore Premier League champions!
SINGAPORE, 10 OCTOBER 2021 –History was created on Sunday night as the Lion City Sailors were crowned champions of the 2021 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL).
The Sailors headed into the final day of the season on top of the table by virtue of goal difference and held their nerve to stay there thanks to a 4-1 victory against Balestier Khalsa at Jalan Besar Stadium. Song Uiyoung broke the deadlock and while Aidil Johari’s equaliser pegged them back briefly, Gabriel Quak restored their lead and Diego Lopes added a third, before Quak rounded off the win.
The final whistle sparked joyous scenes for Head Coach Kim Do-hoon and his charges, who captured the club’s first ever league title as they pipped defending champions Albirex Niigata (S), who squandered a 4-1 lead to draw 4-4 with Tanjong Pagar United. Sparkling performances throughout the season from the likes of Stipe Plazibat, Jorge Fellipe, Shahdan Sulaiman, Faris Ramli and Nur Adam Abdullah saw the Lion City Sailors come out on top and become the first Singaporean club since Warriors FC in 2014 to win the SPL.
The new SPL champions will represent Singapore in the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) group stage, having already sealed their place last month. It will be their debut in the ACL. Joining them in continental competition are Hougang United and Tampines Rovers, who have qualified for the group stages of the 2022 AFC Cup by virtue of their third and fourth-placed finishes respectively.
Sailors captain Hassan Sunny hoisted the SPL trophy aloft at Jalan Besar Stadium in a socially-distanced presentation ceremony, where the champions received S$150,000 in prize money, with Football Association of Singapore (FAS) President Mr Lim Kia Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Mr Edwin Tong and Lion City Sailors CEO Mr Chew Chun Liang in attendance.
Hassan, who picked up his second league title after winning the 2014 crown with Warriors FC, said: “It is a sweet victory, both for tonight’s match and of course to seal the title. I believe that we deserve this for all the hard work we have put in during the season. We went through many challenges and hiccups along the way, so kudos to the boys and everyone at the club. We are excited to see what is ahead for us.”
In the other two matches played on the same night, the Young Lions ended their campaign on a winning note by defeating Hougang 3-1 while Tampines and Geylang International played out a 1-1 draw in their Eastern derby.
Tonight’s matches marked the conclusion of the 26th season of top-flight football in Singapore. Tomoyuki Doi finished as the SPL Top Scorer after notching 19 goals for Hougang, while Tampines attacker Armin Bošnjak topped the assists chart with 11. Albirex custodian Takahiro Koga claimed the first ever SPL Golden Glove with eight clean sheets.
The SPL honours for AIA Player of the Year, AIA Young Player of the Year, Polar Mineral Water Coach of the Year, SELECT Goal of the Year and AIA SPL Team of the Year will be bestowed at the FAS Awards Night 2021, which will take place on Tuesday, 12 October, 7.30pm. The award ceremony will be streamed LIVE via the FAS’ Facebook page and YouTube channel.