Singapore Premier League • November 19, 2015

The Answers To The Title Conundrum


Written By: Kenneth Ho

The Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League Championship race will finally be decided on Saturday 21 November, and either Tampines Rovers or Brunei DPMM will be crowned champions.

As it stands, the DPMM are two points ahead of Tampines Rovers and the title is theirs to lose.

This leaves the equation clear to a certain extent – for Tampines Rovers to land the championship crown, they must win their last game and hope for DPMM to drop points.

This is the third time that DPMM is facing a down to the wire clash. Unfortunately they were pipped to the Championship by both Tampines Rovers (2012) and Warriors FC (2014) on two previous occasions. Will DPMM be third time lucky?

If Tampines Rovers do lay their hands on the S.League title, this will definitely rank as one of their most epic triumphs. A late charge has helped them to overcome a sluggish start to the season, with six wins from their last eight games giving them a chance of snatching the title from DPMM’s jaws.

Things are actually way closer than it seems and anything can happen on the final day. It could boil down to goals difference or total goals scored or total wins achieved as the present league table below shows very little difference in statistics.

Here are the possible scenarios of how it may go down for them.

1) If Brunei DPMM win and Tampines Rovers win , lose or draw

This is a straightforward scenario. DPMM will clinch the title with three points regardless of the result from the Tampines vs Harimau Muda match.

2) If Brunei DPMM lose and Tampines Rovers win

A defeat for DPMM against Balestier Khalsa coupled with a win for Tampines will see the Stags finish above the Bruneians and lift the S.League trophy for the sixth time.

3) If Tampines Rovers win and Brunei DPMM draw

Should DPMM be held to a draw and Tampines defeat Harimau Muda, both sides will be tied on points at the top of the table. In this scenario, the title will be decided on three different factors – goal difference, total goals, and total wins achieved – in that order, according to the S.League Rulebook. 

a. Goal Difference

Both teams can be tied on points if DPMM only pick up a point while Tampines win, which means the S.League Championship will be decided by goal difference for the second time in its 20-year history.

In this aspect, DPMM still maintain the lead with a positive goal difference of 18, while Tampines are one behind with +17.

If the Wasps only earn a point, Tampines will need to win by at least a two-goal margin in order to cause a reversal.

b. Total Goals Scored

It has never happened before but stranger things have happened in football and this may be the first season the S.League Championship will be decided by which team scored more goals.

If both teams have the same goal difference, the team that have scored more goals will be crowned champions. Again, DPMM are leading in this department after scoring 44 goals, while Tampines have only scored 41.

So DPMM can afford to hold out for a point and still claim the title should Tampines score less than three goals in a one-goal victory (2-1, or 1-0 score line).

c. Total Games Won

In the event DPMM are held to a 0-0 draw in the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium and Tampines beat Harimau Muda 3-2, both sides will have the same amount of points, goal difference and goals scored.

This will then see the title race decided by which team have more wins, and in this case, a Tampines win will take their tally to 15 for the season, one more than DPMM should they fail to gain maximum points on the final day, which means Tampines will clinch the title on this ruling.