Albirex beat Global in Singapore Cup final for second trophy quadruple
Albirex Niigata (S) completed a clean sweep of all four domestic trophies in Singapore for a second straight season after overcoming Philippines invitees Global-Cebu FC on penalties in the Singapore Cup final at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
It meant hearbreak for Global's Singapore coach Akbar Nawas, who lost to the Japanese outfit for the second consecutive year in the final, having led Tampines Rovers in the 2016 showcase.
Tsubasa Sano's early goal was cancelled out by Wesley Dos Santos with the match ending 1-1 in regulation time, before Kento Nagasaki's goal was equalled by Paolo Salenga's goal in extra-time.
The White Swans would prevail 3-1 on penalties to win the Singapore Cup for a third successive year.
Goalkeeper Yosuke Nozawa dived low to his right to parry Salenga's kick to win the game for his side.
Global did start off well, with Hikaru Minegishi's close-range snapshot on five minutes forcing Nozawa into action.
Albirex almost scored a minute later. A long ball caught out the Global backline and found Sano, but the No. 9 was denied by the onrushing Patrick Deyto.
The White Swans soon settled into their rhythm and went agonisingly close on 18 minutes. Left-back Naofumi Tanaka put in a teasing low cross into the area, but both Ryota Nakai and Sano failed to apply the finishing touch.
Playmaker Nagasaki then spurned a couple of opportunities, before Albirex broke the deadlock on 32 minutes.
Sano rifled home a superb volley from just inside the area after Nakai had chested Shuto Inaba's pass into his path.
Global gradually got back into the affair, with Roberts heading Minegishi's deep cross straight towards Nozawa just before half-time.
Akbar's side carried where they left off after the restart and found an unlikely equaliser on 48 minutes.
Minegishi played in the perfect free kick into the area for Dos Santos to power home a header past a helpless Nozawa.
Albirex would dominate for the majority of the second half without putting their chances away.
Inaba's rasping 30-yard volley was parried by Deyto on 66 minutes, before Nagasaki saw his free kick from just outside the area three minutes later coming back off the post.
Tanaka fired his volley over from a tight angle on 78 minutes, before substitute Shoichiro Sakamoto spurned the chance to make an immediate impact, lashing just wide from 20 yards out four minutes after coming on.
At the other end, Nozawa had to keep out Darryl Roberts' stinging close-range drive on 87 minutes to ensure the match head into extra-time.
Albirex would retake the lead at 2-1 five minutes into extra-time. Nagasaki's first-time shot from outside the box was deflected home by Global centre-back Marco Casambre after Serge Kaole's intended clearance took a ricochet off Sano.
However, Global refused to lie down and managed to level matters for the second time on the night on 109 minutes.
It was a similar scenario to their first, with Minegishi playing in a superb free kick for Salenga to nod low past Nozawa.
The match would go down to the dreaded penalty shoot out after 120 minutes.
Global missed their first two kicks through Dos Santos and Roberts, while Albirex converted one out of their first two.
Albirex made their next two kicks through Sakamoto and Tanaka, leaving Salenga needing to convert to keep his side's hopes alive.
However, the 23-year-old was denied by Nozawa -- 15 years his senior -- as Akbar tasted defeat for a second straight year.
Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK), Tomoki Menda, Yasutaka Yanagi, Rui Kumada, Naofumi Tanaka, Hiroyoshi Kamata (Ryuya Motoda 88'), Shuto Inaba (C), Yuuki Yamanouchi (Shoichiro Sakamoto 78'), Kento Nagasaki, Ryota Nakai, Tsubasa Sano
Global-Cebu FC: Patrick Deyto (GK), Paolo Salenga, Jerry Barbaso, Marco Casambre, Serge Kaole, Wesley Dos Santos, Darryl Regala (Dominic Del Rosario 116'), Darryl Roberts, Paolo Bugas (Marvin Bricenio 90'), Misagh Bahadoran (C), Hikaru Minegishi
Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT