It was an eventful start to the 2023 Singapore Premier League season with Albirex Niigata picking up where they left off after emerging as 2022 Singapore Premier League champions.
A 3-0 win over Hougang United, the 2022 Singapore Cup champions, with two goals granted courtesy of the video assistant referee, gave the White Swans a perfect start to the new season.
In a span of 20 minutes, goals by Seia Kunori, Shodai Yokoyama and Riku Fukashiro were enough to give the White Swan army a happy trip back home from the Jalan Besar Stadium.
It is the fourth time that the White Swans are lifting the Community Shield, having also lifted the traditional curtain raiser in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
It was also a new lease of life for national number one goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, who began his playing career in an Albirex jersey, and keeping a clean sheet over 90 minutes.
He joined the White Swans at the end of 2022 after being dropped by Lion City Sailors.
The scoreline was not a clear reflection of what transpired in the match, with Hougang United also having opportunities to take lead, especially in the first half.
Firdaus Kassim’s men also had a couple of VAR calls which did not go their way, and the complexion of the match would have been very different if those calls had gone their way.
Some things will still need to be fixed as the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) manages its own broadcast production.
The match broadcast was interrupted early into the match fans just having to stare at a blank blue screen.
And at the start of the match, it was also noticed that the mock cheque which was presented by the FAS to CARE Singapore, a local charity, was incongruent with the text and amount showing different amounts.
It was a moment to savour for former International and long time club kitman Roy Krishnan, who also lifted the Community Shield along with the White Swans after the medal presentation ceremony.
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