Singapore’s Lion City Sailors won against South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the AFC Champions League (ACL).
And no, the score wasn’t 11-11, even though Shopee’s parent company owns the team.
The win comes after the team lost to the same opponents two weeks ago.
Here’s what went down.
Lion City Sailors Recorded a Shock Win
The Sailors recorded the win on 8 November.
For context, Jeonbuk is no ordinary opponent.
They won the ACL twice.
On Wednesday, the Sailors beat them 2-0.
Previously, the Sailors lost to the same team 3-0, making this victory even sweeter.
In the 23rd minute, forward Richairo Zivkovic found the target to help the team score a goal, resulting in a score of 1-0 at half-time.
Ten minutes after the break, he scored another goal.
Shawal Anuar assisted him in scoring.
Jeonbuk nearly made a comeback later in the game when the referee awarded them a spot-kick following a foul by the Sailors in the penalty box.
However, Jeobuk striker Gustavo Henrique da Silva Sousa fired the ball high and wide, giving the Sailors their victory.
Where the Sailors Stand
The victory put the Sailors back in competing for a place in the next stage of Asia’s top club football competition.
Previously, the team finished second in the Singapore Premier League during its 2023 season.
They are now third in Group F, tied with Jeonbuk at six points each.
They are just four points behind leaders Bangkok United.
If you don’t know how the competition works, the top teams from each group and the three best second-placed teams from each region will advance to the round of 16.
Jeonbuk are currently fourth in the K-League.
They won the Asian Champions League in 2006 and 2016.
Furthermore, they won the K-League on nine occasions, so you know they aren’t here to play-play.
More About the Sailors
The Lion City Sailors have a long history.
They were founded in 1945 as the Police Sports Association.
In 1997, their name was changed to Home United.
In 2020, SeaMoney, the parent company of Shopee and Garena, bought the club and changed their name to Lion City Sailors.
Forrest Li, the founder of Sea, hoped the team would set a new benchmark for footballing excellence in Singapore and the region.
In 2021, the Sailors won the Singapore Premier League.
This was a big deal as they were the first local team to win since 2014.
They performed decently in their ACL debut in 2022, finishing third in their group and even pulling off a shock win against South Korean side Daegu FC, winning 3-0.
This year’s ACL sees the Sailors including more foreign players in their squad.
Secret to Victory
Sailors coach Aleksandar Rankovic credited his players for the “perfect response”, leading to their win against Jeonbuk.
Speaking to The Straits Times, he talked about how proud the team made Singaporeans.
He added that the Sailors want to take football in Singapore to greater heights, saying he was happy for the team’s win.
He also hopes other teams will be inspired to tackle more challenging opponents.