The Cheetahs’ first match of 2021 campaign see them go up against last year’s champions, Albirex Niigata at Jurong East Stadium.
The reigning champions overcame a tricky test against Hougang United, who had old boys Kaishu Yamazaki and Tomoyuki Doi.
A blunder from Ridhuan Barudin gifted them the lead as Tsuboi’s 30-yard free-kick squirmed through his hands and over the line. Centre-back Tezuka headed in Kosuke Chiku’s corner, though Hougang reduced arrears just before the break through debutant Ong’s stunner from the edge of the box.
However, the White Swans sealed victory late on when captain Kazuki Hashioka put in a teasing cross that Tsuboi glanced in to cap off a memorable debut.
Source: Singapore Premier League
Date: 13 March 2021, Saturday
Stadium: Jurong East Stadium
Half-time: Albirex Niigata 2-1 Hougang United
Full-time: Albirex Niigata 3-1 Hougang United
Albirex Niigata: Kiyoshiro Tsuboi 25’, 86’, Takahiro Tezuka 39’
Hougang United: Jarrel Ong 42’
Photography: Haiqal Tahir