Khairul Nizam says S.League is wide open, with Home chasing Albirex

Just past the halfway point of the season, the 2017 S.League title race is truly hotting up after unexpected successive defeats by leaders and reigning champions Albirex Niigata (S).

After a stunning start where they won 10 and drew once, the Japanese side saw their unbeaten run ended by Home United in a 2-0 loss two weeks ago. That was followed up by a shock 2-1 defeat to Hougang United on Monday night.

The White Swans last lost two in a row at the end of last season, but those came after they had already sealed the championship.

The sequence of results meant it is now effectively a three-horse race for the title. Albirex are on 31 points, while Home (29) and Tampines Rovers (28) are just behind.

And Warriors FC can't be discounted, with the nine-time champions in fourth on 24 points.

Already into next month's AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal final against Ceres-Negros, Home United are enjoying their best season in years.

Speaking to ESPN FC, Home striker Khairul Nizam believes his team have every chance to claim a first title since 2003. He scored a stunning volleyed equaliser against Balestier Khalsa on Monday that inspired a 2-1 comeback victory.

"The title is very open now as you can see," the 26-year-old said.

"We have shown a lot of character in our games this season, and we should aim to continue in this manner. We must stay humble, grounded and focused in every game because we do not want to drop unnecessary point.

"If we focus on our own abilities to improve as a team, I'm sure something exciting awaits us at the end of the season."

It is worth noting that the S.League title race has gone down right to the wire in four out of the last six seasons.

The S.League now takes a break for the Singapore League Cup, with matches to be played between July 7 and 21.

The first round of games will take place this Friday, with Warriors FC hosting Home United at Choa Chu Kang Stadium while Hougang and Albirex face off again at Hougang Stadium.

Home United have never won the Singapore League Cup, but last lifted the Singapore Cup in 2013 for their sixth title.