Defending champions Albirex Niigata (S) continued their unbeaten start to the 2017 S.League campaign with a 1-0 win over Geylang International at Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday night.
Ryota Nakai's goal early in the second half proved to be enough to separate the sides as Albirex stayed at the S.League summit, with seven wins and one draw from eight games.
Albirex were largely on top in the first 45 minutes, but rarely tested Geylang custodian Syazwan Buhari, apart from a close-range Nakai shot which was repelled for a corner.
The White Swans should have gone ahead just before the break when Hiroyoshi Kamata put in a great cross into the six-yard box, but Tsubasa Sano just failed to get the vital touch to convert.
Kazuaki Yoshinaga's side made amends eight minutes into the second half. Nakai went on a solo run before producing an unerring finish into the bottom left corner to break the deadlock.
That goal woke up Geylang from their slumber as they began to pile on the pressure on the Albirex goal.
Firstly on 63 minutes, Victor Coto's backheel sent Safirul Sulaiman through on goal, but the latter somehow fired over the bar with just Yosuke Nozawa to beat.
Six minutes later, Coto outwitted his marker to break free in the box, yet was denied by Nozawa in the resulting one-on-one.
Costa Rican forward Coto had another opportunity in the 77th minute after cutting inside his man. However, he fired wide from the left-hand post from 20 yards out.
Geylang coach Hasrin Jailani then threw on Shahfiq Ghani and Prime League youngster Asshukrie Wahid for Gabriel Quak and Ricardo Sendra for the final 10 minutes, without producing an equaliser.
It was Geylang's fourth defeat in eight games, dropping them a spot to sixth.
Hougang United leapfrogged them to go fifth after a shock 2-0 win over Warriors FC at Choa Chu Kang in another game on Thursday night.
Geylang International: Syazwan Buhari (GK), Darren Teh, Faritz Hameed, Yuki Ichikawa, Al-Qaasimy Rahman, Safirul Sulaiman, Amy Recha (Nor Azli Yusoff 64'), Isa Halim (C), Ricardo Sendra (Asshukrie Wahid 81'), Gabriel Quak (Shahfiq Ghani 81'), Victor Coto
Albirex Niigata (S): Yosuke Nozawa (GK), Rui Kumada, Takuya Akiyama, Yasutaka Yanagi, Naofumi Tanaka, Hiroyoshi Kamata, Shuto Inaba (C), Kento Nagasaki, Ryota Nakai (Koki Sato 90'), Shoichiro Sakamoto, Tsubasa Sano