Lion City Sailors end foreign domination to win Singapore Premier League on final day

Lion City Sailors have been crowned the 2021 Singapore Premier League champions after a 4-1 final-day win over Balestier Khalsa on Sunday. Football Association of Singapore

For the first time in seven seasons, the Singapore Premier League has crowned local champions after Lion City Sailors claimed the title in dramatic fashion with a final-day 4-1 triumph over Balestier Khalsa.

The Sailors' victory at Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday saw them finish the 2021 campaign on 48 points, two ahead of second-placed Albirex Niigata (S) after the defending champions drew 4-4 with Tanjong Pagar United.

On an incredible evening of twists and turns, Lion City were at one point losing out in the title race as they were being held 1-1 by Balestier, while Albirex were leading Tanjong Pagar over at the Jurong East Stadium.

But a Gabriel Quak effort four minutes before halftime restored the Sailors' advantage and his second goal in the 82nd minute -- coupled with a Diego Lopes header just four minutes earlier - was enough to secure a first trophy for the club in their current iteration, having been formed in 2020 from their previous guise of Home United, who were themselves two-time league champions of Singapore.

Sunday's events also mean that Japanese satellite outfit Albirex missed out on a fifth crown in seven years despite the best efforts of striker Kiyoshiro Tsuboi, who scored all four of their goals against Tanjong Pagar.

With fellow foreign club Brunei DPMM having won the title in 2015 and 2019, Lion City's triumph was the first from a local club since the now-defunct Warriors FC were champions in 2014.