The Garena Young Lions lost 8-0 to Albirex Niigata FC (S) on Friday night, with the latter retaining their position at the top of the 2017 Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League table.
Tsubasa Sano drew first blood for Albirex when he found space to slot home past Hairul Syirhan at his near post before Kento Nagasaki guided a freekick from 20 yards over the wall and into the top left-hand corner.
The Young Lions tried to muster a reply but were unable to breach the Albirex defence.
The developmental side then lost possession in midfield and Ryota Nakai was allowed to run through the defence before firing his shot into the bottom corner despite Hairul getting a fingertip to it.
The visitors knew they had a storm to weather but Sano netted his second after picking up a teasing cross from his left to finish from close range, just before the interval.
Young Lions Head Coach Richard Tardy then brought on Hafiz Sulaiman for Joshua Pereira and the tide subsided as the match proceeded to half-time.
Hairul was called into action early in the second-half to keep out Nagasaki’s freekick, before Taufik Suparno was out-muscled by Tomoki Menda at the other end as the young forward strived to get a breakthrough with his pacey run.
The hosts got their fifth of the night when Nagasaki’s shot slid past two defenders and into the net.
Taufik then tried a speculative effort at goal which took a deflection off the onrushing Yosuke Nozawa before it looped up high and landed perfectly on the foot of substitute Yeo Hai Ngee who scooped the ball over the bar.
Japanese front man Sano eventually sealed his hat-trick on 77 minutes before scoring another tap-in moments later following a pass from Hiroyoshi Kamata. The White Swans’ victory was sealed with Sano’s shot from 20 yards out.
Taufik could have gotten a consolation for the Young Lions in injury time but Albirex goalkeeper Nozawa timed his dive to perfection and kept a clean sheet for his side in the process.
Garena Young Lions Head Coach Richard Tardy said: “Congratulations to Albirex because they played like a professional team with seriousness from the beginning to the end. They respected their opponent and that is a good point they show to my players.
“I look for results and I was not too pleased with some of the attitude of our players, although I hope it was a good lesson for the future.”
Garena Young Lions: Hairul Syirhan (GK), Rusyaidi Salime, Amirul Adli, Faizal Roslan, Shahrin Saberin (C), Joshua Pereira (Hafiz Sulaiman 38’), Syahrul Sazali, Hami Syahin (Yeo Hai Ngee 71’), Muhaimin Suhaimi, Haiqal Pashia (Taufiq Muqminin 83’), Taufik Suparno