News Singapore Premier League • April 19, 2022
Lion City Sailors notch first ever AFC Champions League win in style
Diego Lopes and Song Uiyoung celebrate, 18 April 2022 (Photo: Lion City Sailors)
SINGAPORE, 19 APRIL 2022 – The Lion City Sailors created history on Monday night with a first ever victory in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL).
Goals from Song Uiyoung, Diego Lopes and Pedro Henrique saw the reigning AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) champions cruise to a 3-0 win against Korean side Daegu FC at the Buriram City Stadium in Thailand.
It was the perfect response to their opening Group F defeat on Saturday, when Kim Do-hoon’s men succumbed 4-1 to Urawa Red Diamonds on their tournament debut.
The Sailors’ success is only the second time that a Singaporean club has tasted victory in the ACL, coming 12 years after the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) FC defeated Chinese side Henan Jianye 2-1 in the group stage in 2010.
It was Song, a terror throughout the night in a false nine role, who broke the deadlock. Having already hit the post early on after the Sailors came out all guns blazing, the 28-year-old met Maxime Lestienne’s beautiful cross from the left with a superb looping header into the top right corner on 21 minutes. That made him the Sailors’ first ever scorer in the ACL and only the eighth Singaporean to do so.
Stung, the K-League side – who hammered Shandong Luneng 7-0 in their first match – tried to respond but a combination of stolid defending and luck kept them out. Instead, they were hit on the break in the 71st minute when Lopes brought the ball forward from his own half and exchanged passed with Lestienne before calmly picking out the bottom left corner despite the presence of two covering defenders near the line.
Henrique’s towering near-post header off Shahdan Sulaiman’s pin-point corner delivery nine minutes put the result beyond doubt and meant that the Sailors became the first ever Singaporean side to score more than twice in a single ACL match. Hassan Sunny, who pulled off a brilliant fingertip save to deny Bruno Lamas from range at 0-0, also became the second Singaporean goalkeeper ever to keep a clean sheet in the ACL; Shahril Jantan had done so for SAF FC in a 0-0 draw with Henan in February 2010.
“It’s a historical night for Lion City Sailors,” Sailors head coach Kim declared afterward. “And I just want to say ‘thank you’ and ‘congratulations’ to my players.”
Song, who was named Man of the Match, added: “This win is not just for Lion City Sailors fans, it’s also for Singapore football.”